46w, 1dThe Fillyfoolers.
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A little over two weeks later Dash was standing in a long line in front of Sweet Apple Acres. She hated being up this early, long lines were boring, and there wasn’t even cider at the end. At least she was close to the front, and to the shiny new rainbow colored stand where Apple Bloom was setting up a stack of jars of zap apple jam.
Dash was so focused on the prize that she didn’t notice Applejack until she said, “I think you might be in the wrong line. Cider season don’t start for a month or so.”
Dash grinned and turned to her friend. “Oh I know, it’s on my calendar. But Scoot had to work today, and I don’t have practice until 2, so I thought I’d pick up some jam and surprise her. You know she loves the stuff.”
“Huh,” Applejack said, her brow knitted. She looked like she was trying to figure out a puzzle on Dash’s face.
Dash raised an eyebrow. “What?”
“You just stopped down here first thing in the mornin’ to wait in line for three hours to buy Scootaloo some zap apple jam?” Applejack asked.
“That’s what I said,” Dash pointed out.
AJ still looked confused. “And there’s no special occasion or nothin’?”
“Right.” Applejack nodded, then paused. “So... why’d you do it again?”
“Because it’ll make her happy,” Dash said, rolling her eyes. “Applejack, I was up way too early to be having this conversation.”
Applejack chuckled a little. “Well you two enjoy your jam then.”
“What is this about?” Dash asked, exasperated.
AJ smiled. “Dash, do me a favor. Say Scoot’s name for me.”
Dash looked skeptical. “Promise to explain what you’re acting weird about.”
“You got my word,” AJ said with a nod.
“Fine. Scootaloo,” Dash said. Even though she was thoroughly frustrated with Applejack, a small smile crept onto her face.
Applejack started to laugh. “You got it bad.”
“What?! Tell me!”
“You’re in love, Sugarcube.”
Dash’s eyes went wide. “Oh no. No way. I don’t do love.”
Applejack smirked. “Right then. You just go on home and give Scoot her jam.”
“No, listen to me. There’s no way I can be in love. Not that Scoot isn’t probably the most awesome pony I’ve ever met, it’s just I don’t like being in love.”
“I don’t think ya get a say in it, Dash. Generally you just find the most awesome pony ya ever met, and your heart does the rest. So what’s so awesome ‘bout Scoot, if ya don’t mind me askin’?”
“Everything! She’s so much fun. She loves to just fly, for the heck of it. She’s teaching these little foals to fly and she has the funniest stories, but she never makes fun of them. She’s smart and beautiful and talented, but she never makes a big deal out of it. We can talk for hours about flying or tricks or stuff back here or... something like clouds that isn’t even really something to talk about, and she makes it silly and fun and interesting. She –” Dash frowned suddenly.
Applejack was smirking.
“Shut up,” Dash ordered.
“I didn’t say a word.”
“Well don’t,” Dash said, glaring at Applejack.
Applejack just smirked more.
Dash stared off with AJ, her narrowed eyes versus Applejack’s amused smile, until finally Dash groaned. “Argh. Fine. I admit it.”
“Admit what?” Applejack asked with mock innocence. “Whatever are ya talkin’ ‘bout, Rainbow Dash?”
Dash cringed. “I’m in love.”
“Well how ‘bout that.”
Dash couldn’t even be annoyed with the smug smile on AJ’s face, she was too busy trying to figure out what went wrong. “How did I fall in love? This is impossible. I never thought Scoot would be this cool.”
Applejack chuckled. “It’s not gonna kill ya, Dash. And I’m pretty darn sure that when ya tell Scoot it’ll make her whole life.”
Dash shook her head. “No way am I telling Scoot.”
AJ raised an eyebrow. “You’ll wait in line three hours for jam just to make her happy, but ya won’t tell her how ya feel?”
“If I tell her, she’ll be my marefriend,” Dash said. “Then there will be all that stuff I’m supposed to do, and I’ll screw it up again. I lost you and Soarin’ that way, I – I can’t lose Scoot! I never want to break up with her, so we just won’t be together to start with. We have the arrangement, right? Things can go on just like they are.”
Applejack just stared at her. “Dash, ya know how your friends are supposed to tell ya when you’re doin’ somethin’ really dumb? This is one of those times. You said Scoot ain’t in love with ya. Now, I can’t say I buy that, but she’s gonna be in love with somepony, someday, and if she thinks you don’t love her there’s a good chance she’ll be lookin’ someplace else.”
Dash grinned as the stand opened up and the line started to move. “Are you crazy? I’m her dream come true! I’m hot, I’m awesome, I’ll give her anything she could ever want, I’m gonna take her all around the world. I’ll be everything she could ever want in a marefriend, but just not really her marefriend.”
“Rainbow Dash, you listen to me,” Applejack said, following Dash as she made her way up to the stand. “This is a bad idea. None of that stuff you said matters as much as a simple ‘I love you.’ And I can guarantee that if you can’t give her that, one of these days it’ll break your heart.”
“Ha!” Dash laughed. “There’s no way Scoot is gonna break my heart. Don’t worry so much, AJ. This is all gonna work out.”
Applejack just rolled her eyes. “Ya know I’m always here for you.”
“I know it,” Dash said as she set down her bits and took her jar of jam.
Apple Bloom grinned at AJ. “You gonna sit and talk to your friends all day or do some work ‘round here?”
Applejack laughed a little. “Now you see here, I been runnin’ this farm since –”
“She sounds more like Granny Smith every day, don’t she?” Apple Bloom whispered loudly to Dash.
Applejack’s mouth fell open, and Dash snorted a few times before she fell over laughing.
After work Scoot dropped her stuff off at her house, then headed back to the school to get some training in. Dash was supposed to meet her later, after she finished her own practice. Scoot was looking forward to it, she looked forward to any time she got to spend with Dash, but especially practice where things were simple.
Scoot set up clouds at the corners of a pentagon in the sky. Dash had talked her into at least working on the star trick, with the promise of planning a back up trick in case she just couldn’t get it. The clouds set up at the points were just for training, in the competition she’d have to judge the points and distances and speed on her own while keeping her form perfect and turning the impossibly sharp corners. It was a lot to think about while flying, but right now it actually seemed easier than everything else between her and Dash.
Scoot felt like she was constantly on edge. She was trying to be a good friend, and a good lover, and doing everything she could to not act like she was Dash’s marefriend. But it kept seeming more and more complicated. Dash was so nice to her, they had such an awesome time together just hanging out, and Dash kept telling her about stuff she wanted them to do together, a trip to Las Pegasus or to some island she’d been to, a rock group she wanted them to see together.
And Scoot had to admit that it hurt a little each time she reminded herself that they might not be together for those trips and plans. They might not be together next weekend, and she knew that she couldn’t let herself dream that they would. As much as this hurt now, it would hurt even worse to fall in love.
She flew down to her starting point and cleared her mind, focusing on the trick at hand, trying to count the seconds each line took to fly, trying to keep her legs straight and flip her body at each sharp point. She flew the trick six times in a row. Each time she missed a cloud she went ahead and finished the crooked star, if she did this in the Best Young Flyers competition she wouldn’t have time to just go back and start over. It was better to learn to recover from a mistake now.
After her sixth try, she glanced over at her water bottle and saw Rainbow Dash laying on the cloud next to it, grinning. Scoot had to smile as she flew over.
“Hey! How much did you see?”
“I caught two of them. You’re looking pretty good,” Dash said with an approving nod. “Oh yeah, and your flying isn’t bad either.”
Scoot laughed. “I was off course on the last one. I keep flying wide on the upper left line.”
“Yeah, I noticed, but you’ll get it. Keep your eye on the next cloud as you come out of the turn.”
“I’ll try,” Scoot said.
“I’m telling you, you can do this. Don’t look so down.” Dash smiled and sat up. “I got something for you.”
Dash pulled a jar of zap apple jam from her saddle bag. “Fresh from Sweet Apple Acres.”
Scoot grinned. “Really? Wow! You didn’t have to do that. You don’t even like it!”
“It’s not bad,” Dash said with a shrug, smiling. “But you like it, that’s why it’s a present, right?”
“Yeah. I mean, it’s my favorite! Thanks.”
“No problem,” Dash said, obviously proud of herself.
Scoot carefully stowed it in one of her saddlebags sitting on the cloud. “So, um, wanna see me give it another couple tries? I know I have a lot of work to do on this one.”
“Yeah. Go for it.” Dash laid back on the cloud again. “Remember, keep your eyes on the next cloud.”
Scoot gave a little salute. “Right!”
She took off, going into the trick again. But her mind wasn’t on it, she was thinking about the zap apple jam. Why did Dash get that for her? It was nice, really nice. Should she get something for Dash? What in Equestria could she get for Dash? Something like candy or wine seemed impersonal, and she cared so much about Dash, and appreciated everything she did, and they were sleeping together after all. But if she got Dash something special, would Dash take it the wrong way? Would Dash say they had to stop if she thought Scoot was getting too attached? Would –
“Scootaloo! Are you flapping your wings or flying?”
Scoot stopped and looked down at Dash. Then she glanced around. She was so far off course she wasn’t sure where she was supposed to be headed. A blush rose to her cheeks, and she called back, “Sorry! I’ll, um, start again?”
“Try to stay awake this time!” Dash said, smiling.
“Will do!” She said, flying back to her starting position. She had to stop this. She had to focus. She had to win this for Dash, that’s what she could give her. That was all Dash really wanted from her, and Scoot could deliver.
Scoot spent the next two hours in the air, barely stopping for water and to get pointers from Dash. She only quit for the evening when Dash insisted, seeming worried.
Scoot downed half of her water bottle. “Yeah. Yup, totally cool.”
“Scoot, first you were so out of it you tried to do the trick sideways. Then you spent so long on practicing that I’m not sure you’ll fly straight tomorrow. Something’s wrong,” Dash said, concerned.
“Really, it’s nothing. Just... stuff, you know?” She said, knowing there was no way she could talk to Dash about these things.
“Okay.” Dash nodded. “What can I do?”
Scoot smiled. “Nothing. Really. I mean, you got me zap apple jam. That’s more than enough.”
“Come back to my place tonight,” Dash said, flying over and wrapping a foreleg around Scoot. “I’ll pick up some dinner, and you can use the hot tub.”
“But I have work tomorrow. My stuff is at –”
“I’ll go get it for you. It’ll take me no time.” Dash smiled and nuzzled her cheek.
Scoot pulled away. “Dash, I couldn’t. I mean, it’s really great of you to offer. And that you got me jam, and helped me with this routine. I just can’t keep taking all of this from you.”
“I wanna help you, Scoot. Anything you need. I –” Dash hesitated for a second. “I’m your friend. I always look out for my friends, right?”
“Right,” Scoot said, looking down. The mention of friends brought to mind the two other ponies she really could talk to about this, but neither of them were here.
“Is it something with your friends?” Dash guessed.
Scootaloo shook her head. “No, I just miss them. But Apple Bloom is busy this time of year, and Sweetie’s in Manehattan for the next few weeks, and then they’ll both be busy with the Gala.”
Dash grinned. “They’ll both be there, right? Apple Bloom is helping AJ with catering, and Sweetie has hooves to shake.”
“Yeah. So I won’t get to see them until after that,” Scoot said with a sigh.
“What if you knew somepony with an extra ticket?” Dash said, still grinning. “Believe me, I know they’d appreciate having a friend there to hang out with.”
“That... that would be cool. I mean, unless there’s somepony else you’d rather ask. And if something comes up before then, I totally don’t mind.”
Dash wrapped her foreleg around Scoot again. “It’s yours. Fly down to the Carousel Boutique and get Rarity to throw together a dress for you tomorrow.”
Scoot smiled. “Okay. I’ll do that.”
Dash leaned in and whispered in her ear, “And come back to my place tonight.”
“Since you insist,” Scoot said, still smiling. The two pegasi strapped on their saddlebags and took off for Dash’s house.
The next evening, Scoot flew down to Ponyville and made her trip to the Boutique. As she flew into the store, Rarity looked up from her latest design. It looked really frilly, and Scoot hoped she wouldn’t end up in a dress like that.
Rarity smiled. “Hello Scootaloo, what brings you here?”
“Heya. I need a dress. For the Gala,” Scoot said awkwardly.
“For the Gala?” Rarity repeated.
“Yeah. Dash is taking me. But not, you know, a date or anything,” Scoot quickly added. “I’m going to see Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom, and Dash has to perform there.”
“I see...” Rarity said, eying Scoot. Then a big grin flashed across her face. “This. Is. Perfect! Stand still.”
Scoot stood still. She pretty much had to, because all of a sudden measuring tape, cloth, scissors and pins were whirling around her.
“Don’t you worry, my dear,” Rarity said, her horn glowing as she carefully watched all of the objects she had in motion. “I will design a dress for you that will make you impossible to ignore.”
“Um, thanks?” Scoot said.
“Now let’s see here... Rainbow is right, you do have a lovely figure. Something fitted, yet romantic should be perfect. Ra– I mean somepony will be sure to respond to that,” Rarity said, turning to a sketch pad as one by one the items floating around Scoot were set aside.
“Ooo-kay,” Scoot said cautiously. She was pretty sure Rarity had finally lost it.
“I have the perfect fabric. You’ll have to have your mane done, of course. I know somepony in Cloudsdale who will do a wonderful job. You’ll look smashing... There we are.“ Rarity held up a piece of paper to Scoot. It was a dress, so she nodded.
Rarity turned towards a wall of shelves with bolts of fabric. “I believe I have all I need. One look at you in the dress I’m going to make is going to force those words out of her.”
Scoot just stared at Rarity, thoroughly confused. “Force what words out of who?”
Rarity looked up, surprised. “Oh! Um, no words. Nothing. Forget I said anything, darling. You just go to the Gala in a fabulous dress and have an amazing night.”
Scoot started to back out the door. “Sure, Rarity. No problem. Just... don’t work too hard, okay? Bye!”
Once she was safely back on the street, Scoot shook her head. She wasn’t sure if getting clothes was always like that, but if it was she sure was glad she didn’t have to wear them often.