A Rainbow in the Dark

by FeignedSincerity

1. A Cry Out for Magic

The ride to Trottingham was a long one, but fortunately the Friendship Express proved a convenient mode of transportation. Even still, the ride would take a full two days, nights included. Twilight Sparkle sat alone in her private car with her journal and a glass of warm cider.

‘Dear Twilight,
Today, Princess Celestia sent you on a trip to Trottingham to check up on holiday preparations. Being her personal protege, you have been assigned to oversee the ordeal of celebrating the Summer Sun in this years location. Fortunately, she also granted you five guests, plus one dragon of course! I feel so lucky to have all of my closest friends with me on this trip, and I’m sure you will too remembering it! You are, after all, me.

Sincerely, Yourself’

Formatting her entries in this way made it fun to go back and read them later. It was like opening a letter from somepony, but it was still yourself. Giggling girlishly, Twilight pushed the purple bound tome of a journal under her meticulously fluffed pillow. This was a rather pampered trip, for each of the six girls were given their own sleeper car. Being friends with a princess will get you the nicest things.

It was nearly time to sleep, and Twilight took the final sip of her cider. It soothed her body, warming each and every inch as it flowed down to her stomach. Letting out a relaxed sigh, she blew out her candle and closed her eyes. Finally, it was time to sleep.

But shortly after Twilight laid her head down to rest, the sound of her door sliding open could be heard on the other end of the car. This, followed by timid hooves padding into her room, brought her eyes wide open.

“Who’s there?” she demanded, not sure who it could be. Who could it be though? The only other passengers on this particular train were her friends. “Are you ok?”

Her unexpected guest’s breathing was heavy, scared in a way. A small squeak echoed through the small sleeper car, signaling Twilight to exactly who it was. Fluttershy of course, something must have happened.

“Fluttershy? Are you alright?” Twilight began, sitting up on her bed. “Did something happen?”

What came into her view though betrayed everything she thought she knew about her friends. Sure enough, who came into view was a pegasus, but not the one that Twilight had expected. There stood Rainbow Dash, holding her blanket in her mouth as if it was keeping her alive. Her hooves shook and her jaw trembled in what could be nothing but fear.

“Oh... Rainbow? Um... Ok now I know something is wrong.” Twilight stood from her bed and placed a hoof on her friends shoulder. “What’s going on?”

Rainbow’s face turned a bright pink as she looked over towards the window. “I just... I was cold...”

Twilight narrowed her eyes knowingly, as if to bore into Rainbows head for the truth. “Rainbow Dash, you have your blanket right there, what’s really going on?”

“I t-told you I w-was c-c-cold and I m-mean it!” Rainbow replied in her most insistent voice, which was more embarrassed than anything else.

“Fine then,” Twilight snarked, knowing just how to get to the heart of the matter. Her horn lit up and levitated her blanket towards the ‘cold’ pegasus. “Have my blanket, I’m quite warm in here. You should be fine to go back to sleep now.”

“No!” Rainbow cried, sounding desperate. “I mean... I was wondering if I could stay in here with you tonight...”

Taken slightly aback, Twilight levitated her blanket back to the bed. With a shake of her head, reality came right back. “Sure Rainbow, but you’re going to need to tell me exactly what’s going on. This isn’t like you.”

The prismatic mare scowled, but a bump on the track sent her quickly to hide under her hooves on the floor. “I’m just cold! N-nothing more to it!”

“Dash...” Twilight stared blankly at Rainbow and raised an eyebrow. “Look, I’m smart enough to know when something is going on. Either tell me, or you can take my blanket back to your room.”

Just then, another bump caused the door, which Rainbow had left open, to slam shut. This time, Rainbow jumped and wrapped her hooves around the purple student’s neck. Her face buried itself safely in Twilight’s coat.

No matter if Rainbow wanted to tell or not, Twilight knew she needed a friend. She wrapped a hoof around the shivering pegasus, only to have her expectation dashed even more so. Rainbow was crying.

“Oh my goodness...” Twilight muttered, just barely loud enough for Rainbow to hear. “Rainbow Dash you’re afraid of the dark.”

“Go ahead, laugh,” Rainbow sobbed, vibrating from shear terror. “I don’t care, I just can’t be alone...”

At this, Twilight was shocked. “I’d never laugh at you for being afraid of something! Of course you can stay with me tonight.” She placed a comforting hoof on top of Rainbow’s head, smoothing out her mane as it caressed down her neck. She did this multiple times until her normally tough friend stopped shivering. “Come here, it’s going to be ok.”

“Thank you...” Rainbow whispered, her voice still quivering. Twilight laid back on her bed once again, guiding Rainbow to join her. Once they were both under the cover, Twilight wrapped both fore-hooves around Rainbow and pulled her in tight.

“I’ll protect you, just try to sleep.” Continuing to run her hoof through the multicolored mane, Twilight reveled in how incredibly soft the pegasus was.

“I’m not tired... I just-” Rainbow explained, until the train passed into a tunnel. All light from the moon was officially snuffed out and all was pitch black. She let out a terrified squeal and wrapped her hooves around Twilight’s body. Her shivers overtook her once more as she snuggled up as close to her guardian as possible. “And d-don’t get any w-weird ideas...”

“Shhh, I’ve got you, it’s ok,” Twilight assured, feeling almost exhilarated. It was an odd feeling for the situation for sure, but something about Rainbow Dash in this state was absolutely adorable to her. That, and the smell of her mane made Twilight shudder. As a sign of ‘support’, Twilight nuzzled Rainbow lightly.

That seemed to do the trick, as Rainbow’s shaking stopped dead in it’s tracks. She rubbed her cheek against Twilight’s chest, feeling the comfort of one of her best friends shielding her from the creatures of the night. Of course, the warmth of her breast was a pleasant surprise. Never had she imagined that the bookish unicorn would be so comfortable.

“You’re really warm...” Rainbow whispered, sub-consciously curling her lips into a small smile. Her eyes closed as she let herself be absorbed in the moment. She felt safe, warm, happy... It was all very foreign in context to where she was.

And so a few more minutes passed, and with time more bumps would mar the path that they traveled. Each time sent a shiver through Rainbow’s spine, but each one was suppressed by Twilight’s loving nuzzle. After each, Rainbow would insist that she was just cold, and each time Twilight would only laugh and play along. It was truly serene, the feeling of that closeness, the feeling of protecting another pony. Twilight knew there was nothing to endanger her friend, but it was all about being there for her. Or was that all?

‘Is that all?’ Twilight thought to herself. Something about it made her feel unsure. She held Rainbow Dash in her arms, away from her fears, and it felt so right.

“Dash?” she whispered, checking to see if her bundle was still awake. All that came back however was a low sigh from Rainbow’s throat. Surely she was asleep, as that noise was one that a fully aware Rainbow would never allow anypony to hear. It sounded like the sort of noise that a school filly would make, as if taking a nap on her significant other’s lap. Most of all, it sent butterflies through Twilight’s belly.

“Goodnight Dash...” Twilight said, placing a kiss on the cyan pegasus’s forehead. Satisfied that Rainbow was asleep, she allowed herself to drift away as well.