Two on Two...plus one
Description: You, Rainbow Dash, Applejack and Fluttershy play a game of basketball. An unwelcomed guest shows up.
I hadn’t set foot in the basketball court itself, even though I passed its entrance every day. It was impressive for a high school, with a heavily buffered floor and the scent of fresh paint fumigating the air. The court reminded me of the library. It was cold, quiet, had a mysterious peacefulness to it. And no one else was there.
“Hello?-oooo” No one answered but my own echo. My sneakers squeaked with each scuff I made, and also echoed loudly. They must have just renovated the room. I paced, intentionally making stupid noises to test the echo-i-ness of the room.
Mid-farty noise, AJ walked in, dressed in a fit gym uniform with a basketball tucked under her arm.
“Well howdy there ___." She said in her charming accent.
“What are you doing here? Don't you have a job?”
"I gave mahself a day off. Figure I'd unwind, relax a'little.You playing with us today?"
“Um…yeah. But I didn't think-"
“Yeah he’s playing!" Rainbow ran inside and snatched the ball out from under AJ’s arm. "I had to bend the Egghead’s arm to get him to come.” She spun the ball on the tip of her finger. She was dressed in her gym clothes too, her usual fitted track outfit. Her duffle bag hung over her shoulder.
“Meep.” Fluttershy poked her head in the gym but didn’t enter. “Um….hello.”
“Hi Fluttershy.” I waved to her. She nodded and slowly walking inside. Jesus.
Her outfit was…tight. It looked a size too small, like she bought quickly without trying it on. It showed a lot of skin, which didn’t seem to fit Fluttershy. The soft-hearted girl looked like she was about to faint.
AJ and Rainbow’s glanced at each other.
“...that’s a mighty interesting ensemble there Fluttershy.” AJ faked a smile.
“...uh...R-Rainbow Dash told me to...um...dress to s-sweat.”
“Did she now?”
“Whatever." Rainbow patted my shoulder. "We have even teams. Ready to play?”
“Did you just plan this out?” I asked suspiciously.
“I invited everyone this morning.”
“But you only asked me like ten minutes ago? What if I refused to play with you when you asked me?”
“But you didn’t.”
“But what if I did?”
“ But see, you didn’t.”
“But what if...forget it. It doesn’t matter, I didn’t bring my sweat pants.”
“That’s okay, I got some for you.” She chucked her duffle bag at my chest, then stuck her thumb to one corner of the gym. “Men’s locker room is that way.”
I unzipped her duffle bag and peaked inside. A pair of Starswirl Academy sweatpants were inside. Medium sized. They looked like they were from the track team.
“Where did you get these?”
"If you don’t ask questions, I won’t have to lie to you, Now get dressed! I’m itching to win.”
They were a snug, but did the job. My undershirt was enough to cover the rest of me.
AJ and Fluttershy did warm ups in center court. Fluttershy, who was in the middle of stretching her legs, made another ‘meep’ noise when she saw me return.
“Work those sweat pants Newbie!” Rainbow made a whistling noise as I walk out. She had perched herself up on the closed bleachers, and rolled the ball on the edge of her knee. She jumped to the ground with a thud, and slapped my shoulder hard once grounded. “Okay! I’m thinking…first to 12, 1 point per basket, 2 points at the 3 point line, loser’s ball, half court, bring it back to center?”
“Um…I think...that...we should play basketball.” Fluttershy said.
“Yes Fluttershy. I agree.” Rainbow rubbed the rim of her nose.
“Fluttasha’ can be on mah team." Applejack said, "I’ll tell her all the rules a’fore we play.”
“Fine. Newbie, you’re with me." Rainbow Dash dribbled the basketball. "You want defense or offense?”
“I’ll get defense. If you think you can score points.”
“Damn right I can. You just act like a third wheel and block.”
RD proceeded to dribble the ball…to show off more. She knew how to handle it, that was forsure. Meanwhile, Fluttershy grew extra nervous as she watched her colorful friend perform, and heard Applejack assuring Fluttershy there was nothing to be afraid of.
“Uh...hey. One thing.” Rainbow stopped dribbling and moved in close to me. “Don’t be too aggressive with Fluttershy. I mean, don’t let her win, but don’t go overboard. Play nice, okay?”
“Yeah. No problem. Do you want me to do the same for AJ?”
“AJ? Dude, you could haymaker her jaw and she think it was a bug bite. Go nuts.”
“Alrighty." Applejack clapped her hands together. "Ah think’ Fluttasha’ is boned up enough to block a few shots. We’re all ready when you are.”
“Perfect! AJ vs RD, again. Check it on-”
“Rainbow Dash!” Just then the courtroom door swung open and a pair of small feet scurried inside.
“Ugh, great. Scoots found us.” Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes.
A small girl with purple hair ran up to RD and stood beside her like a loyal puppy. She looked like a middle school girl, but wore Starswirl’s emblem on her chest. She was a lot smaller for someone her age, in height and in thinness.
“Hi Rainbow Dash! You playing basketball?” She smiled widely as she tugged on RD’s pants. RD’s shoulder slouched.
“Yeah. WE are playing two-on-two.”
“Aw man! That sounds totally awesome! Which team can I be on?”
“…I’m sorry, that was my fault, I meant to say that last sentence in English. Let me try again.”
“A-hem! Dashie!” Applejack gave the tomboy ‘the look’ and gestured to the tiny girl.”
“Uhhh, what I mean Scootaloo…” Rainbow Dash put a hand on the kid’s shoulder. "...it’s not that I don’t want you to play. It’s just…we got our teams already. It wouldn’t be fair if we-”
"Idonthavetoplay!” Fluttershy squeaked.
“Radical! Does that mean I can be on your team Rainbow Dash?!” She’s an eager little bugger, I thought. If the gymnasium didn’t have bright lights on the ceiling, the stars in kid’s eyes would have illuminated the room just fine.
“I…um…well, Newbie! Yeah, he’s already on my team.”
“Who are you?” The purple-haired twerp shot me a look of distrust.
“I’m ___. Rainbow Dash’s math tutor.”
“What? Tutor? But Rainbow Dash, you said that studying is for dweebs with no life.”
“Uh…I did say that, didn’t I?” Rainbow Dash gulped.
“And you said that math problems are stupid because no one cares how many apples you have left over after giving away five.”
“And you said that you have to be careful round boys who help you because nine out of ten times, they just want to get into your-” Rainbow covered Scootaloo’s mouth.
“Oookay, how about we forget about what I said for a while and focus on right now?” Dashie looked embarrassed.
“Fur pete’s sake, what in tarnation you been teaching this poor girl?”
“I don’t tell her to memorize everything I say, she just does!”
“Yeah," Scootaloo pushed Dashie’s hand off her mouth and said more. "I got a great memory. Like that time Rainbow Dash told me about Daring-Doo books...”
“SCOOTALOO!!!” RD’s hand flew over the young girl’s mouth again. “Alright, that’s it! I’m calling a timeout! I gotta calm this one down before she starts telling more LIES!” Rainbow Dash pulled Scootaloo by her arm and dragged her outside. The young girl’s grin stayed planted between her dimples.
Applejack picked up the ball Rainbow dropped.
“Who was that?” I asked Applejack.
"That there was Scootaloo. Rainbow Dash’s…fan.”
“She has a fan?”
“A better word fur it is ‘idolizer’. She don’t mean no harm. She’s just a tad star-struck.”
I watched Rainbow Dash lecture Scootaloo through the gymnasium sidelight. Scootaloo, much to my surprise, only grew more excited as Rainbow Dash grew…less frustrated? I saw her anger fade away as they both talked.
“Is she okay?” I asked either girl. Fluttershy answers.
“…Scootaloo...likes to, um, well...she and Rainbow Dash get along, but...”
“She’s like a little sister to Dashie." Applejack told me, "And Dashie’ll pout and moan and pretend to she don’t like the lil’ gal all morin’. But she does. And they both have a good time hangin’ out when they can. But Dashie don’t want people ta’ know she likes kids. Or reading. She gets a tad defensive.”
“Oh, so you know she reads?”
“Everyone knows. But she likes tah pretend it’s a secret. Ah think she’s read all of em. Cept the new one coming out in who knows when.”
“.....April. The new one…comes out in…April. I...um, like them too.” Fluttershy smiled.
Rainbow came back inside. Scootaloo ran over to the edge of the court, pulled a book out of her bag, and began reading it right away. ‘Daring-Doo’ was written on its cover.
I grinned smugly at Rainbow Dash. She pretended not to notice.
“Sooo…" Dashie scratched her head, "...the kid’s gonna sit this one out. And…cheer for me.” We all looked at Scootaloo, who waved back. Dash nodded. “Let’s just play. Applejack, check the ball.”
We moved to one half of the court. Scootaloo scooted to her right, following Rainbow Dash as she moved.
Rainbow Dash got the first ball, and charged towards the hoop. Applejack got right on top of RD, her hand firing all over to stop her dribbling. AJ looked like a giant compared to Dashie, but the little jock kept zipping left and right to avoid AJ’s advances.
“...h-hi.” Fluttershy said to me as we both defended the hoop. She was so nervous she looked like she was about to faint.
“Better be careful. You’re on defense.”
Applejack slapped the ball out from under Rainbow’s hands, and it bounced my way. I grabbed it and tossed it at the hoop. AJ went for it, but I made it in.
“Right on.” Rainbow Dash high-fived me as I walked past her.
“YAY! Score one for team Rainbow Dash! Woohoo!” Scootaloo cheered. Rainbow groaned softly.
Applejack got the ball next and, mirroring her rival, performed an equally aggressive charge for the hoop. Dash tried blocked, hoping to use her speed to compensate for her size and AJ’s strength. It failed almost instantly. AJ charged through her.
AJ made a pass to Fluttershy…
“EEP!” …who ducked and covered her head. The ball went out of bounds.
“Awh, dang it girl.” Applejack pouted.
“Ha! That’s our ball.” Rainbow Dash announced.
“Er, one redo per team?”
“No way, we didn’t agree to that.”
“Yeah! You can’t change the rules mid-game!” Scootaloo backed RD up.
“What the twerp said.”
Fluttershy remained crouched over, immobilized, her hands clenching the top of her head.
“Uh...Sugarcube? You’re safe, ah promise.” Applejack said. I tapped Fluttershy shoulder gently.
“IDON’THAVETHEBESTREFLEXES!” Fluttershy sprang up, with beet red cheeks and sweating.
Rainbow Dash and Applejack looked at each other again. Then Applejack looked at Scootaloo.
“Please don’t.” Rainbow Dash begged.
“Fluttasha’. You don’t need to play if ya’ll not feelin’ competitive.” Applejack assured her timid friend.
“A-a-are you sure? I wouldn't want to break up the teams or...um...” Fluttershy rubbed her elbow. Her eyes glanced up at the ceiling, then down to her shoes.
“It’s okay." Rainbow Dash groaned."Scootaloo can play.”
“Awesome!” Scootaloo had crept up by Rainbow’s side before without us hearing and shouted when her name was called.
You be on Applejack’s team.” Rainbow Dash pointed.
“What? Aww! Then’s let’s pick the team’s again. It’s a new game!”
"I can be on AJ’s team." I said. "I don’t mind,”
“It’s fine by me." Applejack said. "He can switch so lil’Scoots can play with her hero.”
“Yes!” Scootaloo girl ran to me, assuming that she’d be on defense. “You’re going down!” Scootaloo tried to look aggressive, but she ended up looking adorable.
: “...let’s just play.” Rainbow Dash shook her head.
AJ grabbed the ball from Rainbow and passed it to me. I caught it. Scootaloo flailed her short arms around like a child stuck in the deep end of the swimming pool.
I felt bad scoring.
“One-nothing.” Applejack declared.
"I know!” Rainbow Dash growld.
“Relax Dashie. It’s just’a game.” Applejack whispered… “And it’s a game with a lil’kid, so let’s just focus on having fun, alright?
“Scoots..." Rainbow Dash snatched up the ball and grumbled. "...you want to play offense for a bit?”
“SURE!” Scootaloo forgot I existed and ran in front of Applejack. They checked the ball.
“...uh...just so’s you know, ah ain’t gonna go easy on ya. No sir-e. Ya’ll won’t be gettin’ any special treatment in this here game.” Applejack tried to lie. I’ve seen better acting in middle school plays. But Scootaloo bought it. She managed to dribble past Applejack and throw the ball towards the hoop...only to have it bounce off the rim. Rainbow blasted towards it when she got a chance, threw it up and earned their team a point.
“Yes! You’re amazing Rainbow Dash.” Scootaloo cheered.
“You’re not wrong kiddo." Dashie rubbed her hand on the top of Scoot’s head."But get back to half court, we have to win this thing.”
“You got it!” Scootaloo said. She awkwardly dribbled the ball back to half cout. Applejack just barely tried to beat her.
“...what are you looking at?” Rainbow Dash said to me as I grinned at her.
“I didn’t know you had a soft spot for kids.” I said slyly.
“Whatever you say. Egghead.”
“Think fast!” I ducked past RD and grabbed the ball as Applejack passed it to me. Up it went, into the hoop.
“N-no fair! I was distracted!” Rainbow Dash complained.
“No do-overs. ‘Member?” Applejack said proudly.
Dash put on a scowl and raised her chin as we got back in our spots.
“You missed-” I started saying
“Quiet.” Dashe barked.
“Shut up! Play!” Dash charged after AJ when she came close to the hoop, ignoring me, allowing Applejack to pass me the ball so I could get another score.
“That’s another point for us.” I said. "Eddhead."
“...Newbie...I swear, if you ever call me Egghead again, I’ll brain you.”
Applejack let Scootaloo get the last point.
“Game! Us!” Dash said.
"Woowhoo! We won!” Scootaloo applauded.
“Good game Scoots." Applejack patted her on the back. "Ya’ll beat us fair and square.”
“Thanks Applejack.” Scootaloo smiled, then turned to Rainbow Dash and begged for a compliment with her doe-eyes. Rainbow Dash stared at her for a second.
“...uh...who’s hungry?” Dashe clapped her hands together.
“Don’t we have work to do?” I reminded her.
“Yeah we do. I have to work on my appetite.”
“...y-yeah!" Scoots looked a little heartbroken when Dash did not give her a compliment. "Athletes have to recharge, right? Like everyone else.”
“Whatcha craving? Pizza, nachos, chilli dogs? Dash asked us all.
“How can ya eat that garbage all the time?” Applejack berated her tomboy friend.
“Oh, soooory. Are you in the mood for apples? Or how about apples? Or…oh man, does any place in town sell apples!?”
“I eat healthily, thank you very much missy. And don’t eat just apples.”
“I could go for anything” I said.
“OH! Ohohohohoh! There’s this place in town center that’s…” Scoots cleared her throat. “…I mean, there’s a diner over in town that serves everything. I dun know, could be cool.”
“Right on squirt. Why don’t you lead the way?”
“Sure. Whatever..” Scoots tried to act suave.
“You played a good game today.” RD rubbed the top of Scoot’s head again.
“I...I did? Really?!”
“Yeah. We won, didn’t we?”
“Y-yeah! We did win!” Scootaloo nearly tripped as she ran out the gymnasium. RD just yawned, not caring.
“That kid sure picked a peculiar role model.” Applejack shook her head.