Starswirl Academy - Original Rainbow Dash Route

by wolvenfire86


15 - Study Session 1

Study session 1

Description: You and Rainbow Dash have your first study session. It does not go according to plan….
Note: Long chapter, but this might be one of the best ones.


Psychology class started promptly as I ran inside. I just narrowly entered as the teacher closed the door.

The teacher talked about development this time, how people grow according to their DNA and their environment and how both are important to an individual’s growth.

As the class rolled on, I kept spacing out, thinking of what it would be like to study with Rainbow Dash. I imagined what it would be like sitting down with her for a few hours...trying to get her to focus....

…and then the magnitude of my mistake dawned on me.

With her personality and her lousy her grades, I doubted if I’d be able to help her at all.

The rest of psychology class was spent jotting down notes to help Dashie study. Tricks, techniques, even rhymes to help her memories equations.


I sent Twilight a text as I rushed to the library I invited her to come study with us. With her help, I figured we’d be able to make...some kind of difference on Dashie’s marks.

Except for one stuffy librarian with inch thick glasses and an old man smell that permeated around his desk, the library was empty.

I really hoped Rainbow Dash didn’t forget. Or ditch. She seemed like the kind of girl who’d quickly find other things to do.

My cell phone buzzed as Twilight’s response landed in my pocket.

Text message “No thanks. I have other things to do. But you two have fun studying in my library.”

Twilight was the only person I knew who could send her tone of voice via text message.

Now that I thought it over, it was probably best that Twilight didn’t come. Those two were so different that putting them in one room was sure to have had nasty consequences.

I grabbed a seat in the more secluded tables, ones perfect for studying and long assignments, one within eyesight of the entrance.

I got to work on my own homework and waited.

---time passes---

Five minutes after finishing one of my easier assignments, the library door flew open with a loud slam.

“Newbie, where are you?!”

“Shhhh!!!” I librarian hissed.

“Rainbow, for god sakes! I whispered loudly at her. She dashed to me, slamming her feet on the ground, earning a second hate-filled look from the librarian.

She didn’t have any books with her, or even her backpack. Just her regular outfit of a light blue hoodie and tight jeans. A pair of sunglasses covered her eyes. She looked like she was nursing a hangover or hiding from the cops.

“Okay…” She pulled up a chair and threw her dirty sneakers on the table. “…let’s do this.”

“Nice to see you too.”

“It’s always nice to see me.” She stretched her arms high over her head and yawned.

“You know, you could act like you want to be here.”

“Hey, I don’t like studying. I’m glad really glad you’re helping me, but I rather get a tooth pulled with a monkey wrench than learn more fractions.”

“Jesus, is studying that bad?”

“For me it is.”

“But…we don’t have to just study. I could correct your homework for you. That will bump your grades up a few points.”

Or I could just copy off your sheet.”

“Well, that’s cheating.”

“It’s only cheating if you get caught. Like speeding at 3am.”

“I…if you don’t learn the stuff yourself, the tests are going to be a lot harder.”

“Fine, fine. I’ll play along?”

“So, do your homework. I have to catch up on reading myself.”

Dash looked around the room.“...sooo you want me to just do homework?”

“Yeah. And I’ll correct your answers when you are done, then you can redo them so you can get a better score when you hand it in to your teacher.”

“…it’d be a lot faster if you just did give me the answers.”

“That’s not how a study session is supposed to work.”

“Come on~.”

“Not gonna happen.”

“Come on~~!”

“No.”

“Come on~~~!”

“Rainbow, I’m not giving you the answers.”

“You mean I actually have to do work?”

“You said you needed help studying.”

“I said I needed an Egghead. You assumed I needed help studying.” She grinned, but I was not charmed. I had agreed to help her, not to be taken advantage of. And just because we were friends, that didn’t make it okay to assume that I’d help her get away with something that could get us both in trouble.

“I’m doing you a favor. If you expect me to help you cheat, then you can forget this whole thing.”

“What?! Newbie, come on. Don’t be like that.”

“I’m serious. This wouldn’t be the first time a jock tried to take my homework.”

“Alright, alright. I’m sssor-…” She bit her tongue before an apology could come out. “I won’t ask you to cheat again. But please don’t go. I really, really need help.”

“And I’m more than willing to do that. But I don’t want to be...used.”

“You won’t. I promise. Okay?”

"Okay.” I only half believed her. But I was willing to give her a chance.

“So…just do homework?” She asked with a nervous look.

“Yep. And when it’s done, I’ll help you.”

“…fine.” She flipped open her binder and searched few a collection of loose documents, looking very annoyed. I guess putting effort into something that wasn’t physical was that bothersome to her. But that was fine by me. I’d only be hurting her if I show her the easy way to her goal. “Okay, here. Are they right?” She handed me her sheet.

“There is no way you finished that fast.”

“I did half of the questions in math class when the teacher wasn’t looking.”

“You did those in class?”

“It beats taking notes.”

“When did you do these? You were sleeping all day?”

“I did some problems when he handed them out at beginning of class, then I took a nap.”

"So, instead of listening to his lecture, you did math problems you hadn’t learn yet?”

“Yep.”

“If you don’t take notes when the teacher is telling you how to solve these problems, how are you going to know if you did them correctly?”

“…I don’t follow.”

“Ugh, god. Give me a minute.” I look over her sheet and once again I’m taken aback by her handwriting. Her name was penciled in flawless cursive, with quality comparable to a printer. Even the numbers were curved and graceful. “Did Rarity fill this out?”

“What? No. I told you, I did that. Why?”

"No reason.” Investigating more closely, her fancy handwriting was only distraction from the hodgepodge of mistakes scattered over the page. There were only a handful of right answers dotted in here and there, and she didn’t show work for any of them. “Do you want the good news or the bad news?”

“I already know I suck at math, so skip to the good news.”

“The good news is that you’re making small mistakes from not double checking your work.”

“You can tell that just by looking at it?”

“Yeah. Like here. This answer is right, but you forgot to add the decimal behind the 2. See?” I held the sheet towards her and pointed to her error.

“I thought I did that.”

“You probably just went through it too quickly. Going fast isn’t always the right move. Math’s one of those things where it’s better to go slow.”

Rainbow’s eyes widened. “Uh…right.” She looked at me like I was suddenly speaking a different language.

“Try it again. And pace yourself. There’s no need to get it done fast. It’s better to take a bit longer and do it right.”

Still perplexed, Rainbow took the sheet and erased the answer sections. I started reading my psychology assignment.

I occasionally glanced at Rainbow Dash to monitor her progress as I read. Her eyebrow twitched each time she punched something into her calculator. Her pencil moved every so often, followed by either an aggravated groan or sigh of relief.

Aside from those frustrated sounds, the room was quiet. It was a much needed place of zen. I had been working so hard lately that I hadn’t given myself a chance to think about...nothing.

The Fall Festival was the last time I goofed off. Since then, I had been working, kept away from fun things. My social life had evaporated with the sudden changes in my life. Not that I had an active social life before Starswirl.

And those doubts Rainbow Dash brought to my attention…remained.

I looked back at my textbook and sighed, once again promising myself that I would have fun after things got less busy. I lost count of how many times I made that promise. And how many times I broke it.

“Hey.”

“Yes?”

“Can I ask you something? It’s been bugging me for a while.”

“Let me guess. Sine and Cosine? A lot of people get those confused.”

“Why aren’t you dating Twilight?”

“Wh…what?!”

“Did she turn you down or something?”

“C-can we not talk about that?”

“Oooh, I knew it. She broke your heart, didn’t she? Stuck in friend-zone?”

“No! She’s just…we just…”

“Hahaha! You’re blushing.” She pointed at my cheeks as she laughed, which of course made my face turn redder.

“You’re one to talk. Why don’t you have a boyfriend?”

“Cause I don’t need one. I’m objectively awesome single or not!”

“Yeah right. Like I’d believe that one.”

“Believe what you want. I have my reasons. Besides, don’t you know it’s rude to ask a girl about her love life?”

“I’ll keep that in mind next time I talk to one.”

I flinched as Rainbow Dash raised her fist.

“Alright, that’s enough out of both of you!" The librarian yelled at us. "If I hear one more outburst, you’ll be finishing that homework outside, or in Headmistress’ Celestia’s office!”

“Yes sir.” I humbled nodded.

“Tch. Yeah, yeah.” Rainbow grunted.

We pretended to work for a few minutes. A few long, agitated minutes.

Rainbow tapped her fingers against her book like woodpecker pecking at a tree. She stopped right before I could tell her to jump off a cliff.

“You okay?”

“Yeah. I didn’t mean to get mad.”

“…yeah. I didn’t mean to almost hit you.”

“Yeah you did.”

“Yeah. I did.”

Another few minutes of pretend reading passed.

“But…why aren’t you dating Twilight?

“I don’t want to talk about this.”

“I am only asking.” The clock on the wall ticked about dozen times. “Was I right about the getting-turned-down thingy?”

“No.”

“Did you turn her down?”

“No! Look, neither of us ever tried to be more than friends.”

“Why not? She’s cute, smart…she’s not crazy, not a bitch, not petty, not like one of those beach-zombies.”

“A what zombie?”

“You know. Beach Zombie. The girls with the fake tans who bleach their hair so much that it slowly eats away at their brains.” She cleared her throat, and then her body language and voice changed to match a spoiled valley girl. “Like, ohmygawd, that other girl’s outfit is less slutty than mine. She’s probably doesn’t have daddy-issues or money.”“Twilight’s isn’t like those girls at all. And she likes you.”

“If you think Twilight likes me, you’re crazier than I thought.”

“Trust me, I’m much crazier than you think. You two have got a ton in common. So why not?”

“I guess…” had to take a minute to think up a good answer. That worried me. “…I guess it’s cause she’s like my sister. We’ve known each other since….forever. And it’s hard for me to think romantic thoughts about someone when I knew what they looked like in grade school. And you know what else? If I lost that friendship…it would kill me.”

“R-right.” A crack of sorrow appeared on Rainbow’s face.

She stared at the clock on the wall. It ticked loudly as each second passed.

“Must be nice to have a friend that close to you.” She said somberly.

“What, you don’t?”

“I have…” She swallowed. “…I have Fluttershy. She’s my oldest friend. And there’s Applejack, but...” She paused and that crack of sadness got bigger. “...sometimes friendships don’t end well.”

“Um, did that happen to you?” I asked her, but she went quite again. "I'm just asking."

“...my best friend ever, like from when I was a kid…we…stopped being friends.”

“I’m sorry. Why?”

“We had a huge fight. Girls are crazy. If you were smart, you’d stay away from us.” She awkwardly laughed at her own joke.

"Aren’t you really popular? I thought you’d have lots of friends.”

“Of course I have friends. Just…I don’t know. Forget about it.”

“You sure?"

"It's just....it's stupid but...nah forget it!"`

"Come on, I told you a bunch of stuff."

Rainbow Dash looked at her notes and juggled her tongue in her cheek. I could see that she was debating if she wanted to tell me or not, like she wanted to tell someone , and doubted that I was the right one.

"Do you ever..." She started and stopped. "...do you ever feel like...because everyone knows who you, that no one knows who you really ]are?"

"Uh....you mean me? Cause I've never been that popular."

"Forget it." Rainbow Dash looked upset that I didn't understand. “Let's just get the math done.”

“…if you say so.” I went back to work…but noticed Rainbow wasn’t writing anything. Instead, she stared at the edge of the table and did nothing. "So…why don’t you have a boyfriend?”

She tapped her pencil on the table three times before speaking up. “…is this right? I think I got this one right?” She passed me her homework. I knew she was deflecting, but checked her work anyway.

“This is much better. This may have been a thirty percent before, at best. Now it’s about seventy percent.”

“Seventy?! Really?!”

“Yes, but you still have to…”

“Sweet! That’s higher than C! Can we leave now?”

“We’ve been here for ten minutes.”

“…soooo, is that a yes?”

“You still have to finish this sheet. There are more questions on the back.”

The back?” She turned the paper over and saw another pillar of math problems. “Ahhh man! I hate when teachers do that.”

“Why don’t you have a boyfriend?”

“Oh, you’re still asking that? I was hoping you’d forget?”

“Fat chance. I told you about Twilight. It’s your turn.”

“I told you. There’s no one awesome enough to be with me.”

“That’s it?”

“...yes.”

“You’re single because you think no one is in your league?”

“Well, I mean, uh...it’s kinda of personal reasons.”

“How personal?” I didn’t want to ask if it was a matter of sexual preference. You never know who you could upset with questions like that.

“It’s a goal thing.”

"A goal thing?"

"Yeah. It conflicts with a goal."

“it's your goal is to stay single?”

“Why do people think I’m weird when I say that" Her voice raised. "A teenage girl says she wants a boyfriend and everyone tries to hook her up. But if one says she likes being single, she’s a leper!”

“I-I didn’t mean it like that. I was just asking.”

“Yeah. Like everyone else. I don’t want a boyfriend, I don’t need one, and I have my reasons for why not, so that’s it okay?!”

“Okay!”

We got very quiet for a while.

Unbearably quiet.

Rainbow’s knee bounced. She refused to look at me.

Weird…she was able to push my buttons, and I accidently was able to push hers.

“If you don’t want to talk about it, it’s okay.” I calmly suggested Rainbow Dash sighed.

“That’s just it Newbie. I want to talk about it. But no one else does. They don’t want to listen. They just want to judge you. Even if they say they don’t.” She pushed her chair closer to me. “You’re lucky enough to be the new guy. You don’t know everyone yet. Not really. I’ve been in this school district since I was kid. These guys and gals are not as prim and polished as the school advertises them to be. Trust me on that one.”

“Aside from those jerks who beat me up, everyone here seems nice.”

“They usually are. To your face. ‘Popular’ doesn’t always mean ‘Liked’. Remember that one. A lot of people here think I’m rude, but at least I have the courtesy to tell people I don’t like them to their faces and not spread lies or rumors behind their backs.”

Right after she said that, Rainbow calmed down. She needed to get that off her chest.

“You okay?”

“I’m...” She cleared her throat and her grin returned. “...Newbie, I’m Rainbow Dash. I’m always okay.”

That didn’t convince me. But I also sensed that she didn’t want to talk about this more. So I changed the subject.

“...so...I don’t blame you for not liking math or school. But what do you want to do? Like after school.”

"You think about the future a lot.” She mocked me a little there, I could hear it.

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“Because, the present ain’t so bad. Why worry about the next year when the next hour is fine?”

“I don’t worry about the future.”

She chuckled rudely. “Yeah you do. You do all the time.”

“Why would you think that?”

“You’re never relaxed. You’re always thinking of what needs to be done tomorrow, and the day after that, and next semester. That’s why you always work so hard, because you want to be ready for something that hasn’t happened yet.”

“That’s not worrying. It’s called being concerned.”

“They call those ‘synonyms’.”

“...let’s move on.”

“No, let’s not move on. I talked about my thingy. Let’s talk about yours now. You worry about the future constantly. It stresses you out.”

“How do you know that?”

“Duh. It’s so obvious. It’s written all over your face. You’re a worrier.”

“Okay, so I worry where I am going. So what? Don’t you?”

“Nope. And I don’t plan to start.”

“You’re lying. You freaked out when your almost failed math today.”

“That was because I was scared and needed help badly. I didn’t sit still wasting my energy worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. I’m legitimately trying to get what I want, and don’t fret about what I might lose or what I am risking until I need to. And you know what? I don’t lose sleep at night.”

She put on this prideful grin. She knew she got me to think twice, and she was proud of myself for doing so.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think Rainbow could read minds, like she just knew how to bother me. Suggesting I relax more, pointing out my worries, encouraging me to do…basically everything Twilight said I should not do.

I couldn’t figure this girl out. One day she criticized my identity, the next my work ethic. She found a way to mock me and encourage me at the same time. She had been making me second guess myself since the day we met.

Slightly frustrated, I tried to regain control of the situation by talking about her now.

“What do you want to do after school? What plans do you have?”

“I’ve got goals. Not plans.” She grinned.

“Fine. What goals do you have?”

“Why do you care?”

“I’m just trying to make conversation!”

A ruler smacked on a desk behind us as the librarian hollered. “THAT IS IT!!! OUT! OUT! Both of you, pack your things a leave! Argue outside, I don’t care where, just not here!”

Rainbow froze and I both froze.

“Uh…we better go.” I whispered. Rainbow gulped.

“Y-yeah. Let’s get out of-”

“Out! Out! Out!” He kept smacking the ruler.

Rainbow’s hands blurred over my possessions and shoved everything into my backpack. She grabbed my backpack for me, pressed it to her chest, and hustled to the door, sneering at the bitter old man on her way out.

I scurried after her, feeling the eyes of the librarian on me as I trailed after her.”