A Rainbow in the Dark

by FeignedSincerity

4. Feel it Floating in the Air

Routine. This was becoming very, very routine for Twilight, and that only proved to make it more comfortable. ‘It must be morning’ she thought, opening her eyes to look at the rising sun. Too bad the sun isn’t what she saw.

It was still pitch black. That didn’t deter her at all though, as she got right out of bed and picked up her journal from the floor. A yawn escaped her tired throat as Rainbow stirred in the bed.

“Twilight...?” she asked groggily. “Where ya goin’?”

“It’s study time. I do that every morning.”

Rainbow’s eyes opened, much in the same fashion that Twilight’s had, but her reaction was far different. Seeing that her vision looked identical to the inside of her eye lids, her panic knob cranked all the way up.

“Twilight! Where are you? Where’d you go?” She grabbed the pillow and curled up tight with it. Twilight could almost hear her shivers vibrating the bed where it stood.

“Calm down Rainbow, I’m right here.” She searched the floor with her hoof to find her pen, which clattered across the floor when it made contact with the prying limb. The clatter was matched in racket by a terrified scream from the other side of the room. “Rainbow, you ok?”

“Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh,” Rainbow repeated over and over, trying to will the darkness away. Her breathing was becoming sporadic, labored, even a little painful. “Twilight... *wheeze* wh-where are... *huff* y-you...”

“Rainbow? Are you hyperventilating? Oh my goodness you’re hyperventilating!” Realization struck just then that it wasn’t in fact morning, and was in fact closer to midnight. Twilight immediately dropped the book and rushed to the bed, climbing in and wrapping her arms around the mortified wreck of a pegasus. “I forgot, I’m so sorry, please just breath! I’ve got you.”

“Please don’t leave me again Twilight! For the love of Celestia don’t let it get me...” Rainbow’s shaking lessened a little, being absorbed by the stable hooves of Twilight.

“Let what get you?” Twilight had an idea of what she meant, but her inquiring mind wanted to know.

It. I dunno, that?” Rainbow snapped a hoof at lightening speed to point at nothing in particular, but it did connect with Twilight’s jaw on the way. Twilight reeled back, tumbling off of the bed. “OHMYGOSHWHEREDIDYOUGODIDITGETYOU?”

“No I’m fine... Ow...” Twilight rubbed her jaw, feeling the joint pop a little. Dash sure had some power to her punch. “I’m right here, I’ll be right there.” Finding her way to the bed, a little dazed, she found the bed empty. “Dash?”

A cold drop of... something dropped from the ceiling and landed on Twilight’s nose. She reached her tongue up and tasted it. Salty. Dash was on the ceiling, and she was crying.

“It can’t fly. It can’t fly. It can’t fly.” Rainbow recited to herself from above. Twilight looked up despite her inability to see and laughed to herself. Of course, she kept it to herself as to not offend Rainbow.

“Rainbow, I’m right here, you can come down,”


A bump on the track causes the pen to clatter again.


Twilight sighed, not entirely knowing what to do in this situation. “Dash, whatever it is, it’s not in here. Come down and I’ll keep you safe. I promise.”

“Not until I can see the bed. It can’t fly... Twilight can it fly?” Rainbow’s breathing could be heard from the next car over if Pinkie was awake.

Being the logical, fact driven pony that she was, Twilight gave the best answer she could think of. “What, the darkness? Well Princess Luna is essentially the night, and she can fly... So, yes I suppose it can fly.”

“IT CAN FLY?” Rainbow screamed, fighting between terror and tiredness to not pass out. “It’s not as fast as me. I can fly away. It won’t catch me! I can fly and it won’t find me!”

Twilight grunted in frustration, trying to come up with a solution. At last she decided that the best option would be to simply play along. With a sigh, she focused everything she could into her horn, illuminating it. Eventually the glow from her magic enveloped the entire room, creating a day-light illusion. “I’ll hold it back. Get in bed.”

Without skipping a beat, Rainbow kicked off from the tin ceiling and embedded herself in the mattress. Twilight walked over to the bed, secured herself in it, wrapped her hooves around Dash, and powered down her spell.

“It’s back.” Rainbow whispered, probably to not be heard by the darkness.

“It is, but I won’t let it touch you. Go back to sleep.”

“But it’ll get... me...”

“It won’t get you Rainbow, I’m right here to-”

Twilight is cut off by a rather loud snore by Rainbow.

“You’re lucky you’re adorable...”

Rainbow let out a feeble yawn. Her throat hurt a little, as if she’d been screaming all night. The thought is dismissed, and she turned over to place a good morning kiss on Twilight’s lips.

“Morning Twili,” she greeted, to which Twilight opened her eyes.

“Twili? Did you just call me Twili?”

“Yeah, I thought it would sound cute,” Twilight gave her a mixed look of tired and disturbed. “I’m, uh, not very good at the whole cute thing...”

You slept well I see.” Twilight asked while making it very clear that she was not a morning person.

“Yeah, I slept like a log!”

I heard...” She cocked her jaw a little to get a kink out of it, but found the task to be rather difficult. “I also felt...”

“Whoa, Twilight, what happened to your face?” Rainbow bolted to a sitting position and stared at a very large bruise. The bottom half of Twilight’s face was swollen, though not terribly, but her chin sported a large black spot.

“You happened to my face,” Twilight reminded, wondering if Rainbow was being sarcastic or if she really didn’t remember.

“What? I did that?”

She didn’t remember. “Yeah, you freaked out when I got out of bed last night and punched me in the jaw. How do you not remember that?”

“After I realized you weren’t in the bed, I kind of blacked out. I don’t remember what happened.” Rainbow hugged her pillow, hiding her face behind it. “I’m uh... I’m really sorry about that.”

“It’s fine Dash... I can cover it up with a spell.” Twilight sat up and sent a tendril of lavender magic to engulf her jaw. Slowly, the offending wound was subdued, and eventually gone altogether. “It still hurts, but at least nopony will notice.”

Rainbow dropped the pillow and wrapped her hooves around Twilight's body. "I just wanted to thank you again for being so cool about all of this. What you did last night was awesome."

"I thought you didn't remember last night..." Twilight returned the hug, but mostly to prevent herself from falling back to sleep.

"Well, yeah, but I remember everything after you turned the lights on." Rainbow backed away from the hug and held Twilight up by the shoulders. She also planted a kiss on Twilight's horn, earning a small flickering glow. "Your magic saved the day again."

Twilight blushed, not being one to enjoy much praise. Also, the kiss on her horn felt kind of funny. "You're awful affectionate this morning Rainbow, what's up with that?"

"I dunno, just feel really good." Rainbow catches Twilight's angry glare and frowns. "Right, sorry..."

"You know what? It's fine. I'm not even mad." Twilight got up from the bed and readjusted her eyes to the bright light shining through the window. "Because we'll be in Trottingham this afternoon and all of this awkwardness can end!"

"End?" Rainbow slumped over, recollecting her pillow. "Like... end end?"

"Oh no, not like that Dash. We'll just have more room to get comfortable. This train is making my head hurt." Twilight knocked a hoof against her temple to try and kick a bad migraine, but it only proved to make it worse. "We just have to focus on the celebration, and then..." Her false calm began to slip back into the anxiety that really consumed her mind. "The celebration! Rainbow I haven't done any preparations for the celebration and we'll be there in... What time is it?"


"In 3 hours!" Twilight frantically gathered her journal and flipped through the pages, as if the answer lied within. "I lost track of time! Oh, I knew I should have started working when I woke up last night! This is bad. This is very bad! I need at least 7 hours to make all of my preparations and I don't even have half that!"

"Twilight, calm down, what do you even need to do?" Rainbow joined her frantic other half on the floor, cocking her head to the side in confusion. "I doubt you'll find much in your journal."

"I need to make a list," Twilight spouted, as if it was obvious. "And then I need to make a checklist, and then I need to cross reference both so that they coincide and can be efficiently followed in tandem! And then I need to document both lists in one file which can be accessed by any party involved, which would only be me and Spike. I have to study the layout of the city, and I need to learn the names, I have to do so much! I have to Rainbow!"

Rainbow carefully closed the journal and sighed, chuckling lightly. "Or, you could not do any of that. If I were you, I'd just wing it."

"And that's why the princess put me in charge! She knew I would do it, but I didn't do it! And now she's gonna-"

"She's not going to do anything crazy Twilight," Rainbow reminded. "When was the last time she actually punished you?"

"Well... Never as bad as I assume," Twilight recalled, feeling a little foolish. "But there's a first time for everything!"

"Dude, this is Princess Celestia we're talking about! She's chill with pretty much everything!" Rainbow laughed and patted Twilight on the head. "Come on, loosen up, I'll bet you 20 bits that the princess planned this whole thing!"

Twilight raised an eyebrow as her eyes narrowed. "You think she would do that?"

"She would totally do that."

"You're on! But I'm not betting bits." Twilight lifted her journal as she proceeded to the door.

"Fine, what's the bet?" Rainbow smiled, always loving a good bet.

"If I win, and Celestia proves to you that she did not plan for this whole trip to go this way, you have to study with me for a whole week." Twilight provided a smug smile, pressing a hoof against the door.

"And if I win then you don't get to read for a whole week," Rainbow scoffed, knowing that would get under Twilight's skin. Twilight's eye twitched. "You have to come out and play with me, and your books have to stay on the shelves."

"But I have to study!"

"No buts, it's that or 20 bits." Rainbow crossed her arms and stood her ground.

"Fine, but I know I'm going to win anyway so I'm not worried!" Twilight opened the door and took a step. "Now we need to pack. I'll meet you back here in an hour?"

"Sounds good Twilight." Rainbow gave her a happy smile as she walked out of the room. Once she was gone, the love-struck pegasus let her backside fall to the floor. "And she's not even stressed anymore. Classic misdirection. Rainbow 1, Twilight 0. I am so winning this relationship."

"You know you can talk to us, right Twi?" Applejack suggested, watching the purple unicorn stuff vast quantities of parchment into a saddle bag.

"Of course I know that Applejack," Twilight dismissed, only half paying attention. "But I don't have anything I need to talk about."

"You are aware that we all know, right?" Twilight stopped for a second, and then continued packing as if she hadn't heard anything. "Come on Twi! We're your friends! It'd be better'n breakin' Rarity's face and threatenin' to murder Spike!"

Finally acknowledging her quaint guest, Twilight snapped her saddlebag shut with a lot of magical force and dropped it on the floor. "And I suppose you know exactly what's going on, don't you?"

"Well I'd be a right fool to ignore the signs! We ain't seen a lick a either of you 'cept for that miserable excuse for a meal we all 'shared'." Applejack stomped towards Twilight angrily, ready to just explode at any given moment. "And you call me stubborn! I haven't seen a worse case a nerves since Big Macintosh thought he ran over Winona with a plow!"

"Well I'm sorry Applejack, but I don't think you understand. This isn't about Rainbow and myself, and this certainly doesn't concern you!"

"Well Ah never!" Applejack pushed the saddle bag out of the way to stand hoof to hoof with Twilight. "You're clearly upset over somethin', and the last time you got like this the entire town tried burnin' itself down for a doll! Mah brother ain't let anypony touch that thing since he got it! And you're trying to tell me it ain't none a my business?"

Twilight had to back up a little. Applejack was big, at least bigger than her. The country pony stared down at her like a lion stalking it's prey. "I don't see why you're so upset about this Applejack. I'll figure this out, just give it time."


A heavy knock is heard from the back entrance to Twilight's room, followed by a matured, yet regal voice.

"Will you two keep it down? We are trying to sleep!"

The two look at each other sheepishly. "Sorry!" they apologized in unison. The argument continued in whispers.

"All Ah'm sayin' is that if you don't stop actin' like a scared barn-cat soon you're really gonna stick your hoof in your mouth." She placed a gentle hoof on Twilight's cheek, earning a painful wince. "Thought so, you're hurt."

"I'm not hurt Applejack, and how would you even know that?"

"Ah work on a farm Twi, Ah've seen enough injuries to know when your jaw's hangin' loose. What happened?" Twilight averted her gaze, blushing quite obviously. The color of her face where the bruise used to be was a darker color than the rest of her blush.

"I don't want to talk about it Applejack..."

Applejack gasped, connecting what seemed to be the case in her head. "Did... Did Rainbow do that to you?"

Twilight caught herself nodding slowly, but quickly changed to shake out an insistent 'NO'. She didn't know what to do now. To explain, she'd either have to let Applejack think that Rainbow was abusive, or tell her that Rainbow was afraid of the dark. Either way, it would involve explaining the relationship and that was not an option.

"I fell off my bed... On a book..." she explained, trying to sound as convincing as possible.

"A'right, now I'm really worried sugar cube. If she's pushin' you around then you need to tell somepony." Applejack gave a supportive look, to which Twilight just face-hoofed.

"AAAUUUG! Please, nothing is going on! Rainbow is certainly not 'pushin' me around'," Twilight assured, mimicking Applejack's accent rather insultingly. "Please, I just need to pack, and then prepare... Just... I'll explain everything tomorrow, I promise. I just need to get organized."

Applejack doffed her stetson and backed off, indicating her intent to leave. "Ah'll trust your judgement Twi, but Ah ain't lettin' you beat yourself up over somethin' that Ah'm sure ain't a big deal."

"Thank you... I just need time to think right now."

Applejack carefully closed the door behind her, joining the rest of their friends in the lobby car. Once there, she sat at the table with a deck of cards on it.

"So? How'd it go?" Rarity asked, picking up the cards and shuffling it.

"Well if they ain't sleepin' together then Ah'm a parakeet's accountant." Applejack rested her elbow on the table, and held her tired head in her hoof. "But she ain't talkin' none. You think somepony might wanna check on Rainbow? She's been in her room awful long and she only brought a pillow and a blanket."

Rarity placed the cards, expertly shuffled and straightened, on the table and stood up. "Oh I suppose you're right Applejack. Perhaps I shall go have words with her."

Rainbow remained laying on her bed, resting her eyes for a bit. She didn't have much to pack, so she spent her time sleeping and dreaming, waiting for Twilight to come back.


"Ah, that must be her." Rainbow bolted up and skipped over to the door. If anypony was watching, she would never do that, but she was in a rather light and fluffy mood today. To her chagrin, Rarity stepped in once the door was opened.

"Good morning darling, I must say this room smells a bit musty." Rarity trotted over to the window and slid it open a crack. "One must air out their room once in a while!"

"Rarity, what are you doing?" Rainbow floated over to the window and closed it back up. "Aren't you packing?"

"Oh I packed last night. After you so rudely expelled me from here, I had not else to do but pack my things." She re-opened the window, wider this time, and turned her nose up. "Honestly Rainbow, how can you allow your room to smell like sweat at all times?"

Trying to pull the window closed again, Rainbow had to give up without realizing that Rarity had locked it open. "Because I like the heat! And besides, we're getting off the train soon anyway. Now I'm expecting someone soon so you should probably go."

"Oh who, Twilight?" Rarity sat down on the bed and smiled wryly. "I'm sure she won't mind me being here, after all you were just going to study, were you not?"

"Buck no I wasn't gonna study!" Rainbow defended, but that only left one other option.

"Then tell me Rainbow, what is it that you were going to do, hmmm?"

"Pack?" Rainbow looked around the room until she noticed the pen on the floor. "This! She forgot her pen!"

Rarity laughed out loud, knowing that she had Rainbow cornered. "And what, might I ask you, is her pen doing in your room if you weren't studying?"

"Nothing! She dropped it when she...! Aw horse-feathers..." Rainbow lowered her snout to create a rather pathetic looking defeat. "I guess you already know, why am I even arguing?"

"It's quite alright Rainbow Dash, I just have one question." Rainbow lifted her eyes to see Rarity getting comfortable. "What's it like?"


"How was it? I must know!" Her tone mimicked a gossipy school-filly, eager to hear of a friend's love life. "You're in love Rainbow, I can see it in your eyes. I would like to think I have a good eye for romance."

Rainbow had to think for a second. Clearly Rarity already knew, but how much should she tell? "Well what do you want to hear?"

"EVERYTHING!" Rarity placed her cheeks in her hooves and her eyes sparkled with fantasies. "I noticed that Twilight was in control, meaning that you're the mare in the relationship! Oh I never would have guessed but it's just too cute! Now tell, me how does it feel?"

"Uh... That's not really how it works Rarity... We're kind of both the mare, since we're both mares..." Rainbow wasn't sure whether to be insulted or embarrassed. In certain situation, she had to admit Twilight was in control. "And I don't understand what you mean. How does what feel?"

"Being in love! The butterflies in your stomach, the late night rendezvous, oh the romance of it all!" Rarity rolled over onto her back and hugged Rainbow's pillow. "Why, I've only ever been in love, truly in love once. It was the best weekend of my life..."

"I guess it does feel pretty cool..." Rainbow shifted her eyes nervously, wondering when Twilight would come back. 'Oh no, Twilight!' she thought, realizing that she wasn't doing a very good job of keeping their secret.

"Just cool? Oh Rainbow, even you must have something to call it other than cool." Rarity stood and rushed over to face Rainbow directly. "How about exhilarating? Life-changing? Absolutely the best thing ever? It must be more than just... cool."

The blushing pegasus looked away, completely ashamed of how much her eyes would tell. It was so much more than just cool. "I guess it's kind of... Yeah all of those things I guess..."

"Oh Rainbow I'm so happy for you two! When we get back home, I want to know all of the details. We can go to the spa, we can talk! Oh I'm just so excited! A chance to have girl talk with Rainbow Dash? You have just made this trip, what is it that you say? 30% cooler?" Rarity continued on, walking half way through the door. Of course then she remembered what she was really there for. "Rainbow dear... You really shouldn't hide it from everypony..."

"I have to... Twilight will leave me if I tell..."

"Now that's silly, I'm sure she wouldn't go and do that! Why, if I wasn't afraid she'd attempt to gouge out my other eye I'd go over there myself and tell her it was all ok!" Rarity winced slightly remembering her currently hidden shiner.

"You're not mad about that?"

"Oh I'm absolutely livid about the encounter! It wasn't your fault though, and to be honest she scares me. I have half a mind to clock her a good one right on the jaw!" She caught herself in the downward spiral towards anger, and recomposed herself. "If I were a more violent pony that is. Oh, and be a dear and tell her to lay off of Spike, he simply doesn't deserve that sort of abuse!"

"Yeah, I guess he doesn't... I'll let her know." Rainbow smiled, sincerely for once, and Rarity walked out of the car. "Well I guess that could have gone worse... Now where is she anyway?"

To Rainbow's surprise, the train came to a full stop. The city of Trottingham could be seen through the window, inviting her to come out.

"Whoa, has it really been that long? Huh, I wonder what happened to Twilight..."

"Saddle bag, check! Journal, Check! Spike cowering behind the door? Oh now what's gotten into you?" Twilight stepped towards the door that led out towards the platform. Spike was doing his best to not be seen by the emotionally disturbed unicorn.

"N-nothing's gotten into me T-Twilight," Spike re-assured his parent figure. "Just a little cold, that's all."

'That sounds familiar...' Twilight thought as she mentally checked off everything. "Well then, everything is accounted for!" She took a step into the station and sighed in relief. 'Now I can just organize this celebration, relax with Rainbow and...' Her thoughts trailed off, leaving her head blank for a moment. "Rainbow!" She dropped her things on the ground and ran back into the train. She forgot something very important.