Quick note, there is also a Mature rated version of this story here on FimFic. People who want to read the Mature version (which has more colorful language, nudity, and occasional light clop) may do so by clicking my profile here and then clicking the story link on the top of my profile. [Picture explanation] Oh, and make sure you have 'view mature content' on in your profile settings.
Both versions have the same story and are 95% identical, but people that are okay with reading graphic content will probably enjoy the mature version more.
Chapter 1: That wasn’t there before.
I click through links furiously. “Come on, there’s gotta be some new Dash pics in here somewhere. It’s been at least three days since I’ve seen a new one.” It's late at night, and I'm browsing DeviantArt looking for some new pony images. MLP:FiM ended a few years ago, after its fifth season, but I'm still a huge fan. I love fanart of any of the the characters, but Rainbow Dash is by far my favorite pony of the bunch. She always has been, and she always will be. I don't even know why, really. There has always just been something about her.
Unfortunately, a lot of the fandom has died down over the years. Sure, new fan content still surfaces here and there, but not nearly as often as it used to. The worst part is less overall content, means less content of specific ponies. Days can go by without any new Dash pics, and I'm lucky if in a month I can get a single new Dash wallpaper. I don't even want to think about how things are just going to get worse in the future. It's the year 2020, and fanart is already this scarce, what is it going to be like in another ten years? Man, maybe I should learn to draw my own art? Or maybe I can just commission something? I sigh as I realize DeviantArt has no new uploads of the blue pony today. “I guess I'll just go through the archives and look for pics I skipped over before.” Urgh, this is getting depressing.
I wake up early the next day, and shake the last vestiges of sleep from my head. The nightmare I was having, something about the MLP finale, fades from my mind. It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since the show ended, and I’m still getting bad dreams about that episode. In all honesty, it’s a terrible episode. I mean, pretty much everyone in the fandom agrees it was a stupid way to end the show. But regardless of the reviews, all I know is that episode still gives me honest to goodness nightmares. I still don’t know how they managed to air an episode like that on a children’s network and not get sued by the FCC.
At least today should be a good day. See, today is May 1st, and it’s my 25th birthday! It occurs to me that I really should clean this place up a bit, as I have friends coming over soon. The party should be fun, my best friend Jack shares a birthday with me, so every year we host a joint birthday party. I've known Jack for a really long time. Well, I guess it hasn't been that long, but it sure feels like it.
We met in high school during a track competition some eleven years ago. Back then he was from our school’s rival team, and we were competing in the 400m dash. I met him on the starting line before the race, and we just hit it off immediately. We only had about a minute to talk while we stretched waiting for the race to begin, but by the end of it I felt like we were already best friends. The race then followed thereafter, it was a hell of a race too. The 400m was always my best race, and I was shocked to see Jack stay neck and neck with me until the very end. I ended up winning by a nose and I still give him crap over his loss, though he always just rolls his eyes and claims I tripped him in the last 50 yards.
In any case, Jack is a great guy, so is his brother Evan. Though Evan is about the same age as Jack and I, he is mature beyond his years. His maturity probably has something to do with the fact that he runs the family farm. Evan and Jack live on this small ranch just outside of town. As I recall, their parents died when they were fairly young; Evan had to grow up pretty quick to take care of both the farm and his younger brother.
Anyways, as much as I respect Evan, I sort of wish he wasn’t planning on coming to the party today. You see, while Jack and I like silly things, such are cartoons about ponies, Evan is the complete opposite. I don’t really blame him for being so stoic and mature, but it’s still a pity. Usually at parties like this, Jack and I love to watch old episodes, but if Evan is around we keep the pony on the down low due to mutual respect.
The sound of a doorbell brings me out of my thoughts; looks like the guests have arrived.
“Happy Birthday! Hope you got room for all the strippers I brought!” Jack jokes as he barges into my apartment, both arms carrying a large load of beer and chips.
“Oh crap, you’re bringing some strippers too? Dammit, I had already ordered a dozen for the apartment already!” I joke as Jack drops the bags and gives me a hug that only best friends could share. “It's good to see you Jack, and a Happy Birthday right back at ya! The big Two-Five!”
“You knuckle-heads have been around for a quarter century already, isn't that something?” I look up to see Evan standing in the doorway with a comforting smile on his face. “Happy Birthday, I got you something for the occasion”. He hands over a heavy box.
I open it up on the spot; it’s a bottle of Scotch. I read the label “Langavulin Reserve, 25 year aged! Jesus, Evan, how much did you pay for this?”
“Ah, it's nothing. It cost a bit, but I figure it’s cheaper in the long run because it’s a present to both of you. Saved me the trouble of buying two presents. 25 year aged Scotch for your 25th birthdays.”
Jack strode over and is in awe at the bottle. “Holy crap, thanks bro! You know I love the whisky. Let’s get some glasses out and pop this bad boy open!”
I'm in the middle of opening the cabinet when I hear a fourth voice speak out from the doorframe. “You know, you should wait until the perfect time before you drink something that special.” I turn around and see Fiona standing just outside the apartment and looking in through the doorframe.
“Fiona, get in here, how long have you been standing there?” In all the commotion of Evan and Jack arriving, I forgot I also invited Fiona. She’s a quiet girl I met her in college a few years back, and she doesn’t get out much. She's really sweet though, the type of girl you just like to be in the company of, in a non sexual way. Things are just more calm with her around. Jack and Evan have taken a liking to her as well. Though, even with all three of us being close with her, no one makes any advances on Fiona. I’m not sure if it’s because she is just too sweet to think of in that way, or if it’s just because us guys didn’t wanna make a move on her which would make the other guys jealous.
A noise behind me brings me out of my musings. “What were you saying about ‘waiting for the perfect time’ to drink this?” Jack asks while waggling the bottle of Scotch in his hand.
“Oh, well, you know, I heard in some communities it’s tradition to take a shot of alcohol on the exact anniversary of your birth,” Fiona says as she calmly strides in and hands Jack a large gift bag before turning to hand me one as well. “Oh and Happy Birthday, by the way. Hope you like what I made!”
Jack takes the gift bag from her hand but didn’t look inside, he is still confused about the drink. “Hold on, Fiona, this is the exact anniversary of our birth. You know, a birthday.”
Evan cuts him off, “I think she means the exact time. You know, Jack, like you were born at what, 5:37pm I think? It lists it on your birth certificate, you know. So I guess you’re supposed to take a shot at that exact time? Though, I can’t say I approve using top shelf Scotch for shots...”
Jack pops the cork off the bottle “Oh be quiet. It’s already paid for, I say we use the Scotch. And actually, that's convenient, it’s 5:30 right now. We should get ready for this.”
I sit for a second, trying to remember my own birthday time. I remember I actually looked it up awhile ago and used to have it memorized... “Oh yeah, I remember my time! Wait, damn, that’s lame, my birth-time was something like 11:30pm. Urgh, you guys are going to be back home by then. Oh well, let’s all just have a drink to celebrate Jack’s time.”
Jack starts to pick stuff off the table to make room, only to realize he is already holding something in his hand: the gift bag Fiona handed to him when she arrived. Jack starts to open it as he talks more about the Scotch, “Yeah, that sounds good guys. Any excuse to drink more is a good rule in my book. Let’s just get some glasses, and then we cAN OH MY GOD IT’S ADORABLE!”
I spin around to see Jack holding a handmade plushie of Vinyl Scratch, his long time favorite pony. Fiona stands off to the side, beaming at what is obviously something she hand stitched. I have to hand it to her, that plushie is pretty damn adorable. I'm actually kind of jealous. Wait. Wait a second, she gave me a present bag too, didn’t she? Does that mean what I think it means? I leap over a chair and sprint back into the living room, quickly finding the gift bag I had previously set down. I immediately grab it and tear the cover off. My eyes barely have time to register the color of the plushie’s hair before I gave out a yell of jubilation “Aawww yeah!” I am holding a Rainbow Dash plushie in my hand, and it’s pretty much the best thing I have ever seen.
Jack laughs as he looks at my present. “Urgh, you just had to get him more Dash merch, didn’t you, Fiona? Don’t encourage him!”
Fiona blushes and shrugs her shoulders, but before she could reply she is glomped by both Jack and I as we fight over space to hug and thank Fiona for the presents. It's a pretty touching moment, but it's cut short by Evan poking his head back into the living room. “Hey guys the shots are poured and—Oh great, more ponies, sheesh.” Silly Evan, he was outnumbered. With Fiona here the ratio of pony fans to plebs is 3:1.
“Don’t be jealous, I can make you one for your birthday if you want, Evan! Just tell me your favorite pony,” Fiona smiles as we make our way to the dining table to do our ceremonial drinks of Jack’s 25th birthday.
“You should make him Applejack, being a farmhand and all.” I smirk as I put Dashie down on the table. God damn, that is one cute plushie.
Jack rolls his eyes. “Oh god, not Applejack, don’t waste your time making a plushie of Ms. Utterly Useless Pony”. He hugs Vinyl so hard I start to worry the seams will burst.
Evan remains deadpan through this entire ordeal. “Fiona, you’re asking me for my favorite pony? Is there a pony that just goes around and kills all the other ponies?”
Fiona’s smile vanishes instantly, but, surprisingly enough, she keeps the conversation going. “Well, that would be Season 5 Discord, but I’m not making you one of him”.
I feel myself wince at the mention of Discord, and in my periphery I see that Jack do the same. I always wince when someone mentions Discord. I suppose it’s because I feel he ruined the show. However unsettled I might be by the mention of him, I do have to correct an error here. “Well, come on now. Discord didn’t kill the main ponies, he just... ah, forget it. Evan doesn’t care, let’s just end this pony talk for now”
“Yes, please do,” Evan says, still deadpan. He checks his watch. “Alright guys, let’s get ready, it’s 5:36”
“Quarter of a century here I come!” Jack proudly exclaims as he puts Vinyl down and stands up, shot glass in hand. The rest of us follow his lead and join him in standing and holding our glasses in the air. Even Fiona joins in on this, which surprises me; I usually don't see her drinking hard liquor.
Evan starts a countdown, “Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven!” I look around and take in the scene, these co-birthday parties always give the best memories. “...Four! Three! Two! One! Drink!” Evan yells and I tip my shot glass back.
The smoky amber fluid burns as I knock it back. “Oh wow, strong stuff!” I exclaim as I slam the empty glass down where it was soon met by the glasses of Fiona and Evan. “That was... mmm... peaty”
Evan agrees, “Takes out the fire, but leaves in the warmth.”
“What did you think of that, Jack?” I ask. After no reply, I look up at him and immediately become confused. Jack is just standing there, a full shot glass of Scotch still in his hand.
“Uh, Jack?” Fiona says quietly as she joins Evan and I in staring at Jack. He is just standing stock-still, oblivious to everything around him. His eyes are unfocused, and are just staring past everyone at something beyond the horizon.
Evan reaches out and pokes him on the shoulder. Hard. Jack twitches and snaps back to attention. He blinks twice and looks around as if he is unsure of what we are doing in the kitchen. His eyes land on me and then he just stops and stares at me for a bit. I want to ask if he feels okay, but then he tilts his head and stares into my eyes. After a few seconds of looking at me, he opens his mouth. “...Rainbow Dash?”
I feel a slight chill go down my spine. “What? ...What about her?” I ask, confused, “Are you talking about the plushie?” I look around for my birthday present to make sure it is okay. I spot the plushie on the far side of the room, and it seems fine so I turn back to face Jack. He is still just staring at me with a distant, confused look in his eyes. I am about to ask what he is talking about, but the moment is ruined by Evan laughing.
“You forgot to drink, you big dope!” Evan laughs as he slaps Jack on the back, immediately breaking the confused look on his face.
“Haha, dang it, Jack, you had one job!’” Fiona giggles to herself as she pats Jack on the shoulder.
Jack looks around in an addled state, and reaches down to rub his thigh. “I, um, yeah.”
“You okay there, buddy? Never seen you zone out like that, and in the middle of a party no less,” I say as I look at him closely. He looks fine now, but I am wondering what the heck he was referring to when he looked at me and called me Dash. That doesn’t make any sense, we aren’t the role playing type. Despite my well known obsession with a certain rainbow-maned best pony, in all my years I have never heard Jack never call me her name before. I want to brush it off as nothing, but something feels off.
Jack brings me back to reality by speaking up. “Yeah, I’m fine, I’m fine. I was just lost in thought or something that’s all. How long until we can drink these shots?” The three of us raise our eyebrows at Jack. “Wait... did you guys drink already? What the crap? When did that happen?” We all continue to stare at Jack. None of us quite sure how to respond to his rhetorical questions. Thankfully, the awkward silence is broken by Jack shrugging his shoulders and saying, “Whatever, bottoms up!” He downs his drink in one gulp and drops the glass where the others went.
It’s getting late and I stuck cleaning the dishes from the party. I yawn and check the clock, noting that Fiona left about two hours ago.
“Alright, I’m headed out, you kids have fun,” Evan says as he heads out the door.
Jack waves back and yells over his shoulder at Evan “See you tomorrow, bro. Don’t forget to check on Sara when you get home. I think her hoof might still be infected, she's been acting really antsy around me these past few days.” Jack decided to crash at my place tonight, but Evan couldn’t stay. It’s a pity, but the fact is they live on a working farm, and work there starts at 6am. Thankfully it's a small farm, just a few acres of organic corn that they sell locally. Their real pride is their horse stock. They have a dozen purebred Spanish Andalusians that they bred every season. A healthy purebred colt can sell for upwards of ten thousand dollars; it’s pretty much how they pay their bills. In any case, Evan has to leave to go feed them for the night.
After a few hours of card games and beer, Jack and I decide to call it for the night. My friend collapses on my sofa, not even bothering to change clothes first. Well, whatever, not my problem. I don’t do his laundry.
I yawn and check the clock, it's only 11pm. I figure I have at least an hour before I'll be going to bed myself, so I might as well browse the internet until then. I make my way to my room and boot up my desktop. I start skimming some pony sites and forums to try and find new pony content, and eventually I stumble across a random 'rule 34' thread. I pause for a moment, debating if I should open it. I'm not really a clopper, but I do sometimes look through these threads. If nothing else, it's a way to find new content of Rainbow Dash...
I turn around and made sure my door is locked shut, then proceed to open the thread and scroll through to see what they have. The thread is filled with a bunch of posts from people raving about this new video, and I see them link to an animated flash titled “Shining Armor X Rainbow Dash. Duration: 2:30”. I stop and grimace. That sounds like hardcore clop, Not my cup of tea, I should pass it up and get out of this thread. But, on the other hand, I'm crazy desperate for new content. A new animated video featuring Dash? Gah, maybe I'll just take a peak to see if the animation is any good. My digital watch beeps once to signify it's 11:30, and I press play on the video.
> the sound of thunder at nighttime <
“...what did you do....”
> the feeling of wind <
“if you’re not here to use them...”
> moving at unbelievable speed <
“For five score, divided by four...”
Blink. Blink... blink. What am I doing again? I reach down and scratch my thigh. Oh, right, that video, I just started it! I look up at the screen, only to see that the video is over. “Uh, that’s odd, video must have bugged out on me.” Out of the corner of my eye I see my watch. It’s 11:34pm.
Wait, what? My watch just beeped on the bottom of the hour, how is it 11:34? I must have dozed off for a few minutes there. I try to think, did my mind wander, or something? What was I thinking about? Something about.... pfft, hell if I know. Whatever, it’s getting late. I’ll just watch this video and then get to bed.
I restart the video, and wow, it is actually really well animated. I mean, this is practically show quality! Though, as I watch, I notice something odd. Normally when I watch pony vids, my eyes are locked on Dash. But right now I'm really distracted by how good Shining Armor looks. I mean, the video just shows them standing there and talking to each other right now, but still, I can't help but notice how Shining looks, what's the word, attractive? That gorgeous mane, his chiseled muzzle, those muscles... I'm so jealous of Dash, I wish I was the one standing there talking to a stallion as handsome as Shining...
Suddenly I freeze as realize what I was thinking. I shake my head to clear the thoughts. “Gah! Brain, what the hell?!” I close the video, that rule 34 thread, and my entire internet browser. Then I shut off my computer and back away from my desk. “Urgh, I feel like I need a shower.” I have nothing against people who are into stallions, I just know that I'm not one of them.
I go into to the shower, undress, and turn on the water while staring off into space. What a weird fantasy to have while watching that video. I never think about stallions like that, it’s just not my thing. I reach down and scratch my leg again “Maybe that alcohol is still in my system or something.” My hand starts rubbing my thigh as I close my eyes under the shower and let the water flow over my back. “Oh well, it’s not like anyone is going to know I was thinking about a stallion like that, no harm no foul I suppose”. I realize I am still absentmindedly rubbing my leg, so I look down to see what my hand is up to. Huh? That color wasn’t there before. I lift up my hand and blink to clear the water from my eyes, only to feel my blood turn cold at what I see.
Rainbow Dash’s Cutie Mark is emblazoned across my thigh.