The Risks of Braving a Storm

by Wintergreen Diaries


Chapter 10: Hesitation

Rarity’s bi-monthly tea party was an occasion that all of her friends looked forward to as a time to just sit back, relax, and have some good clean fun. Due to her rather ill temperament, Twilight had opted out of the last, but Rarity decided to host it at the library this time at Cerulean’s urging. He was not expecting to be evicted upon their arrival, figuring that an afternoon around the six would keep her fairly calm, but he was swiftly escorted from the library upon their arrival. Finding nothing to do himself and spotting Storm drifting by on a cloud, he proposed that they gather the other stallions and have a spot of guy time, to which Storm eagerly agreed. The last week of training had gone by uneventfully, and Storm couldn’t really say if it was good or bad. He had managed to avoid sticking his hoof in his mouth for the most part, but it seemed like there was a growing tension under the surface, or maybe it was just him. Either way, it’d be great to have somepony to unload on.

Twilight greeted her friends cheerily enough as they entered, who nodded apologetically to the downcast Cerulean who was just trotting out the door. Twilight really didn’t mean it to be mean, she just figured there would be less chance of her being set off if he wasn’t around. Besides, it had been a while since she had some time with just her friends with no blue stallion to tug at her heart strings. Rainbow Dash, on her part, was excited to have some time to ask a few questions about how to proceed with Storm. She’d been shooting that dolt all kinds of signs, and even after admitting his feelings for her he still hadn’t asked her out! Seriously, did she have to make a sign and beat him with it?

“Thank you for having us over, Twilight. It simply wasn’t the same without you last time,” Rarity said as she trotted in. The library had been thoroughly cleaned due to Cerulean and Spike’s assistance, which was pleasing to Rarity who secretly found the idea of holding something as sophisticated as a tea party inside of a dusty library to be quite uncouth. Applejack hadn’t liked the idea much when Rarity started it but she’d grown to enjoy it, even training herself to drink the tea properly, though not without putting up a fight. The tea and snacks were brought out and soon they were all chatting the day away. Rainbow Dash was glad for a day to rest her wings. While the training had gotten easier with practice she was still exhausted by the end of each day, and a perpetual dull ache had made its home deep within her limbs. Storm was a tough trainer, and he rarely gave her any time off from the weights, even having her perform her weather duties with them. The conversation bounced from topic to topic, until the rest of the friends noticed that Rainbow Dash had fallen silent.

“Rainbow Dash, what’s wrong? You’re not yer usual spunky self today,” Applejack inquired, causing the rest of the mane six to focus their attention on her.

“Did something happen between you and your giant pegasus friend? I told him to be gentle, did he not listen?” Rarity asked, causing Rainbow Dash to blush as she recalled the massage and subsequent outburst.

“Gentle? Doing what?” Fluttershy turned towards Rarity who flashed her a smile before resuming her stare at Rainbow Dash. Twilight had a much different interpretation of the statement and quickly became indignant.

“Rarity, you suggested that already? They’ve barely known each other for two weeks! And here I thought you were a lady.”

“I beg your pardon, Twilight! I do not know what you are assuming I mean, but I was simply talking about a relaxing massage and nothing more. I’m hurt that you would even suggest such a thing of me,” she snapped, pointing her nose in the air. “After all, you’re the last pony present to be lecturing anypony on that kind of thing. How long was it, a month and a half?” Rarity soon regretted those words and took a step back as Twilight’s horn began to glow. She breathed a sigh of relief as Rainbow Dash inserted herself between them and hastily tried to ease the tensions.

“All right you two, take it easy. Twilight, he didn’t do anything to me. Rarity, the massage was great. Now would everypony stop freaking out so I can talk?” she yelled, holding the two apart with outstretched hooves. The two ponies alternated between shooting dirty looks at each other and apologizing to Rainbow Dash, returning to their seats to sulk. As the spotlight returned to her, Dash found it hard to speak. “I was actually... kinda hoping to get some advice on colts.”

Finding nothing with which to occupy his mind, Cerulean took to the skies to continue practicing his flying skills. He’d never be on par with a trained pegasus, but just the feeling of defying gravity for a while was something he found fascinating, and the spell became less draining the more he used it. Cerulean was surprised to find Storm relaxing on a low cloud, staring up at the patchy sky, and decided to see if he wanted to hang out.

“Hey, Storm Blitz! How’s it going?” Cerulean said out, attempting to land beside him but forgetting to cast the cloud walking spell and quickly falling through. Storm blinked at the empty space for a moment before Cerulean came in for a second appearance, chuckling at his own mistake.

“Hmmm, it’s going pretty good, I guess.” Cerulean cocked his head at the rather nondescript answer.

“You guess? Something going on?”

“I don’t know, maybe.”

“You’re really good at being vague, though if I had to take a guess I’d say it’s about Rainbow Dash, am I right?” Storm nodded.

“She’s been acting strange this last week. I think she’s trying to impress me but she doesn’t need to. Just being around her is enough.”

“Do you want things to go further?” His nervous shuffling told Cerulean all he needed to know, but he wanted to hear it verbalized anyways.

“I really like her. I really do, but I don’t have any idea what to do in a relationship like that. I’ve never had a fillyfriend and I don’t want to mess everything up!” Cerulean digested the words for a moment before commanding his attention with his now serious expression.

“There’s no room for both fear and love. You’re going to have to choose which one will win.” Storm sat shocked by his statement, his thoughts never having drifted to the idea of love. Wasn’t that kind of a big jump? At the same time, if he hesitated forever, he may lose the opportunity. And one thing he did know for sure is that regardless of what she had said, he was scared of losing her. “In the meantime,” Cerulean started again with a smile, “let’s find Big Macintosh and Quakehoof and have some bro time. What do you say?”

“I think that sounds great, anything to take my mind off all this.”

“Race you to Sweet Apple Acres?”

“You’re on, Cerulean!”

Colts. A hot topic for any young mare, and now the time had finally come for Rainbow Dash. Her friends all exchanged smiles which quickly turned to concern as a now brightly blushing Rainbow Dash attempted to disappear into the couch.

“Rainbow Dash, you don’t need to be afraid to speak with us about anything. What do you want to know?” Twilight said in a comforting tone.

“It’s the truth, sugarcube. We’re all here for ya, though I don’t know much about colts myself, so I wager this will be good fer me too,” Applejack added, sitting beside her.

“I just can’t tell if Storm’s into me like he said, mainly,” she started, wringing her hooves in her lap. “I’ve been trying to catch his attention, adding extra flourishes to my stunts, being cheery all the time, brushing against him... but it just seems like he doesn’t notice any of it! Am I doing something wrong?”

“Of course not, dear; sometimes males are just simply too thick to notice such a subtle approach,” Rarity replied calmly. Subtle? In Rainbow’s mind, she had been anything but subtle.

“Maybe I’m just not pretty enough.” There was a collective gasp of indignation all around, her friends horrified that she could even think such a thing. She may be rough and tumble but she was still very attractive, anypony could see that. For her to be doubting herself that much, well, she had to be terribly smitten.

“Now hold on a sec here, Rainbow Dash, you know that’s not true,” Applejack said, throwing a hoof around her shoulders.

“Um, Rainbow Dash? I’ve always thought you were really pretty,” Fluttershy offered, eliciting a small grin from Dash.

“It’s the most ridiculous notion I’ve heard in quite some time, not since Twilight’s recipe for those putrid brownies.”

“What? I thought they were pretty tasty!” Pinkie countered, defending Twilight’s daikon leek brownies.

“It is simply not proper to callously shove vegetables into a decidedly sweet confection where they do not belong. I cannot agree to such a foul perversion of such a delectable treat,” Rarity said firmly, taking a bite of one of the cookies that Pinkie had brought, only to let out a yell as she realized that Twilight had coated the bottom with hot sauce while she was making her rebuttal. While the princess had told her to stop doling out a world of magical hurt, she was still quite fiercely defensive of her cooking, especially since she had started cataloguing the best recipes into a cook book she hoped to publish. Twilight pretended not to notice Rarity’s searing gaze as she stirred in some honey dijon mustard into her chamomile tea, taking a grateful sip and sighing.

“Uh, I think we’ve gotten a little off topic here. What should I do?” Rainbow Dash said, waving her hooves to grab their attention.

“Well, if you’re worried about appearances then how about we put some work into that department. It couldn’t hurt to work your mane a little, and I bet a nice grooming at the spa will be just the thing to fix all of this. Come, Rainbow Dash, before we are poisoned by a certain mare’s vile hormonal concoctions.” Rarity took one last sip of tea and sputtered, Twilight having switched it with her own while her back was turned. Eventually Rarity would learn not to insult her tastes, and until then she would have to pay for her actions. Perfectly within Celestia’s guidelines. Besides, she had only said that Cerulean had to be doing better when she checked in. Rarity coughed and groaned as the thickened tea attacked her taste buds, causing her to spray it all over Pinkie and storm out of the house, with Rainbow Dash in hot pursuit.

Cerulean felt quite small in the presence of Ponyville’s three largest ponies, all of them towering over him by at least a head and a half. Storm was quite happy to get to spend some time away from the whirling maelstrom of confusion that had recently taken residence within his mind, unfortunately showing no signs of weakening. Most of the activities the massive ponies chose to engage in left Cerulean with little hopes of winning, and after hoofwrassling all three he was pretty sure he was going to need an amputation. Still, it was worth it to see Storm and the rest having a good time, so he grit his teeth and tried not to think about it.

“Hey Cerulean, let’s wrestle!” Storm shouted before tackling him to the ground. He grew quite surprised as he was suddenly no longer pinning Cerulean who had eluded his grasp and was now feebly clinging to his back trying to get a lock around his front hooves. Storm quickly shrugged him off and again attempted to pin him. The process repeated itself until they were both panting, Cerulean having no hopes of out-muscling Storm and Storm repeatedly foiled in his attempts to pin him.

“You sure are flexible, half pint,” Storm called out with a chuckle, Cerulean joining with his own.

“Eh, it’s my only hope a against a behemoth such as yourself. Tag, you’re in!” Cerulean suddenly shouted, darting over and smacking Quakehoof who immediately charged in and went to work on his son. Storm held his own quite well, but Quakehoof’s unmatched strength eventually brought him down. Quakehoof was then hit from behind by a red sledgehammer, and he was soon pinned himself, Big Mac grinning ear to ear as he held his lock for the proper time.

“See, I told ya Big Mac was better! He beat Quakehoof who beat Storm, so that proves it!” Sweetie Belle sighed as Scootaloo and Applebloom went at it again. This had become almost a daily occurrence, and she was getting sick of it. Still, somepony had to be the moderator, otherwise those two would never stop.

“You’re both wrong, Cerulean’s the best because he never got pinned by nopony! Now will you two be quiet?” she shouted, causing the other two to stop. “Now come on, we need to figure out what we’re gonna try today to get our cutie marks! We’re the Cutie Mark Crusaders, not Knights of the My Brother is Better than Yours Table.”

“You’re right, Sweetie Belle. Sorry Applebloom, still friends?”

“O’ course! Let’s get to the club house!” They left their spot at the fence and raced to their fort, discussing plans and having a good time.

“Scootaloo, how is your flight training coming? Any progress?” Sweetie Belle asked as she noticed Scootaloo giving her wings an experimental flap.

“Great! Storm was pretty out of shape when he got here, and he’s been training Rainbow Dash a lot, but he’s been good about making time for that most every night. I still can’t take off on my own, though.”

“Don’t worry, Scootaloo. You’ll be racin’ Rainbow Dash before you know it!” Scootaloo immediately cheered at the thought, her eyes growing wide with anticipation. She made up her mind to give it extra effort from that day forward.

Rarity had quickly forgotten her previous frustration as the spa attendants sent her through the usual routine. Rainbow Dash hadn’t had a spa treatment in a long time, and the soothing heat did wonders for her stress. She would have allowed the massage to continue but she soon found herself blushing as she imagined the hooves belonging a certain other somepony. Afterwards Rarity led them back to the boutique where set about styling Rainbow Dash’s mane and tail, not permitting her to look until she had finished which annoyed her to no end. It took at least an hour by her guess, but she soon became breathless as Rarity held up a mirror.

“Is that even me?..” she asked slowly, mouth slightly agape. Her mane had been split evenly at the neck, coming forward and styled into loose curls. Her tail was done much the same, with each color individually curled. Admittedly, it was the most ladylike she had ever looked, even more so than the Grand Galloping Gala. She looked like a completely new pony, and it filled her with confidence as she imagined how Storm would react. “Wow Rarity, this is way cooler than my old look. Thanks!”

“Oh, but of course, Rainbow Dash. If this doesn’t spark a reaction, then it will be officially declared that Storm is interested in colts, as no normal stallion would be able to resist you now. Now go win yourself a stallion, Rainbow Dash.” She left with her head held high, staring confidently into the distance before coming to a sudden realization; she had no idea where Storm was. Carefully taking flight, she slowly made her way through the skies, the wind tossing her hair playfully though fortunately not messing it up in any way. She spotted the four stallions over Sweet Apple Acres and landed a good distance away, slowly approaching and growing increasingly nervous.

“Uh, son? I think there’s somepony here to see you,” Quakehoof said with a grin as he saw Rainbow Dash approaching.

“Eeeyup.” Big Mac added before Storm turned to behold Rainbow Dash slowly walking towards them. The powers of speech fled before the overwhelming beauty of the mare approaching, a light blush gracing her cheeks and hair tossed by a light breeze. A million words of praise flooded through his mind as she stopped short and looked up at him with expectant eyes, but they refused to make it from his mouth. When he did manage to speak, what came out wasn’t near what he wanted it to be, and there was an audible thud as Quakehoof smacked a hoof to his face.

“...What’s with the hair?” Rainbow Dash couldn’t believe it. After everything she’d done he still took no notice of how hard she’d been trying? It was too much.

“I don’t... I don’t know why I even bothered... trying to impress you. I’m clearly just not good enough.” She turned and began to walk away, and Storm was forced to make a decision. His mind failed, but fear wasn’t going to win this fight, so he decided to act with his heart instead. Without a word he shot into the sky, grabbing a large cloud and flying it over an unsuspecting Rainbow Dash before jumping on it, causing a localized downpour. Rainbow Dash gave a sharp gasp as the cold water soaked her coat, the hour spent of her hair undone in the space of a few seconds time. She stopped in her tracks, a growing anger building as she fought to stem the tides that raged against her eyes. Storm landed and walked over, noting the disapproving look on his father’s face. Cerulean jumped in front of Quakehoof, shaking his head as he prepared to give his son a good thrashing for treating a lady in such a manner. Rainbow Dash was mid turn when Storm forcibly shoved her into the mud that had formed on the moistened earth, splashing it all over her coat and mane. Storm gently pulled her out and stood her on her feet, placing an arm around her and pointing at her reflection in the water that had pooled around them.

“Take a good look, Rainbow Dash.” Her hair was a disastrous mess, the curls had tangled and mud was smeared all over most of her body. “Memorize what you see, because that... that’s the face of the mare I want for my fillyfriend.” The tears began to roll as his words wrapped around her heart, bringing a warmth to match the infringing cold. “You’ve already impressed me enough, and you’re beautiful no matter what your condition, even now. So please, just... just let me be with you, and that’s enough.” He pulled away and gently lifted her eyes to meet his own before driving out all that remained of doubt. “Rainbow Dash, will you be my fillyfriend?” The desire to cry, scream for joy and beat the snot out of him meshed together and, tearing a page from his book, what came out of her mouth was not what she expected.

“What kind...” she started, commanding his full attention. He grimaced as she tackled him into the mud, standing on top of his chest and bellowing into his face. “What kind of moron of a stallion waits for his mare to get all fancy and then pushes her into the mud to make a point? How can you be so dense as to take that long to figure me out, huh?!?” She paused, then continued in a much softer tone. “And what kind of stupid mare must I be, to think it was the sweetest, coolest thing ever...” Storm allowed a premature smile to light his face before Rainbow Dash wiped it away with her ultimatum. “All right, Storm, I’m in. I’ll be your fillyfriend, but you better be ready for it. You may be training me to become a Wonderbolt, but now you’re gonna train just as hard to be a proper coltfriend. No more being so dumb, got it?”

“Got it,” he said with a smile, thankful that his sudden act of heart hadn’t resulted in total disaster. Rainbow Dash gave him the stare for a bit longer before shooting excitedly into the air, her voice resounding throughout the orchard.

“Woohoo, I have a very special somepony!”