The Big Cleanup

by elPossenreisser

Chapter 6 - Friday, the night of the Fall Formal

Chapter 6 – Friday, the night of the Fall Formal

Rainbow had to admit that the dance was much cooler than she had thought all this time. For starters, there was cider, fresh from the farm of Applejack’s family. As far as Rainbow was concerned, that alone was almost enough to make a good party. She had tried the punch as well, and it wasn’t bad—but cider was just cider!
The music wasn’t as bad as she had feared, either. The Royal Guard, the student band led by Flash Sentry, were playing some decent rock, way better than the cheesy soft stuff she had somehow anticipated. And for later, Pinkie Pie had promised a rad DJ.
She even liked her dress a lot more than she was willing to admit—Rainbow Dash didn’t do dresses. But the piece Rarity had picked for her, a navy blue babydoll dress with a slit front under which she wore a rainbow-colored miniskirt, looked really awesome on her. Along with the dress she wore platform shoes with an embroidered silver lightning bolt on each, and while running in those things was definitely out, she liked her new height.
Rarity had also done her hair in a high pony tail that almost managed to rein in her unruly mane, which was way too much work in Rainbow’s opinion, but the result was pretty great. She had even managed to persuade Rainbow to apply a bit of eye liner, and while she preferred not having a pen almost stuck into her eyes, she had to admit that it really brought out her eyes. Dressing up every once in a while was probably not a bad thing.
Pinkie and Rarity and the rest of the decoration committee had done a great job redecorating the gym. The theme seemed to be blue which she found odd after having seen the place covered in so much blue recently. There were a bunch of tables, covered in blue fabric, lined up in the rear part of the gym. The dance floor in front of the stage was dominated by the huge disco ball and flashing colorful lights.
Rainbow didn’t feel like dancing, but was content watching the crowd for the time being. Next to her, Rarity and Fluttershy were discussing the upcoming date with Big Mac. Pinkie was bouncing back and forth through the gym, making sure the party kept running smoothly. Not even the coronation ceremony for Fall Formal Princess, which Sunset Shimmer had, of course, won and which had been blissfully short, could spoil her mood.
Suddenly the music died down. The dancing couples on the dance floor stopped and looked at the stage in confusion. Flash Sentry and his fellow musicians took a few steps back and left the stage to a girl in a lilac dress whom Rainbow would never have expected to show up there. It caused her a mild shock to see Twilight again and brought back that queasy feeling in her stomach, just like earlier that week in the cafeteria. Twilight was greeted with a few sneers and some snickering.
Twilight grabbed a microphone and for a moment just stood there in the center of the stage, basked in the bright spotlight, and Rainbow could almost see her taking a deep breath and trying to collect herself. Then she spoke.
“Good evening, everybody,” she said, her voice shaking just enough for Rainbow to notice. “My name is Twilight Sparkle, as most of you probably know. As you might also know, it is I who was responsible for the dance being postponed. I didn’t want to ruin everybody’s fun, but I made a mistake, and I am truly sorry for this. I want to apologize to everyone whose dance I ruined, and to the decoration and dance planning committees whose hard work I destroyed.” She paused, looking around the crowd insecurely. No one said a word.
“So, yeah, you are probably pretty mad at me, and I can’t blame you. I can only offer you my apologies and ask you to forgive me.” She cleared her throat. “Oh, and one more thing. You may have heard that Rainbow Dash was responsible for this—that is not true. Rainbow Dash had nothing to do with this mess and just got caught up in it because I was a coward and didn’t turn myself in immediately. So please, if you’re still angry, take it out on me and leave Rainbow Dash alone. Um. Have a nice dance?”
For a few seconds, the gym stayed absolutely quiet, and Twilight remained standing in the spotlight, fiddling with the microphone and looking like she was trying to fight back the urge to turn and run. Then, suddenly, Pinkie Pie’s high-pitched voice was heard from the far end of the gym. “It’s okay, Twilight, we’re not mad anymore!” she yelled, eliciting a hail of relieved laughter from all sides that quickly dissolved into some reserved applause, but also some more sneers and murmured comments. Rainbow craned her neck trying to find Pinkie in the crowd, and as she looked back at the stage, Twilight was gone.
The music picked up again. Rainbow wasn’t really in the mood for conversation after seeing Twilight on the stage, not quite sure what to think about her public apology. It sure had taken Twilight a lot of guts to stand up in front of everybody and apologize. And she had looked so small and scared up there.
Rainbow hated being that confused. She wished, again, that everything hadn’t turned out so messy and she could just hang with Twilight or whatever. She turned around and scuffled to the rear wall of the gym, leaning against it and staring at the floor.
On stage, Pinkie Pie happily thanked The Royal Guard for playing and announced DJ Vinyl Scratch while in the background a table with two record players and a massive white amp was being set up. Many students were making use of the short break to get another glass of punch or cider as the DJ, a girl with striking blue hair wearing massive purple glasses, set up behind the record players.
Suddenly, Rainbow noticed someone standing in front of her. She looked up and saw Twilight, looking at her nervously. The queasy feeling in her stomach returned with full force at the surprise of seeing her again.
“Hello, Rainbow Dash,” Twilight greeted her with a shaky smile. “I know I’m probably the last person you want to talk to right now, but please hear me out.”
“Sure,” Rainbow said hoarsely, trying her best to keep her voice from shaking.
Like she had done a few times before, Twilight took a deep breath and forced herself upright, looking almost painfully tense. “I want to apologize. If you don’t want to forgive me, I can totally understand that, but I want you to know I’m sorry. I did something wrong, and I’m trying to clean up as much of it as I can. I can’t undo everything I’ve done to you, and if you never want to talk to me again, I… I probably deserve it. But I want you to know I am truly sorry and. Yeah. Sorry.” As her speech somewhat died down, she slumped her shoulders and hung her head, not daring to look at Rainbow Dash.
For a long time, Rainbow stared at her, trying to make up her mind. She couldn’t help but look Twilight over. Her lilac evening dress was festooned with white ribbon in the front and along the neckline and looked very sweet on her. She had also put on some mascara, really bringing out her big purple eyes. Rainbow forced her gaze towards the floor—this was so not helping!
Part of her wanted to stay mad at Twilight, not because of the slime-shoveling and not even because of all the teasing and bullying from the other students, but because she had felt betrayed when she had learned that everything had just been Twilight’s weird scheme. Because she had felt betrayed by Twilight when she had just started to like her. At the same time, she was happy to talk to Twilight again, having to admit to herself that she had missed her. And she looked really great, all dressed up like this.
But before she could come to a decision, suddenly Coach Thunderlane walked up to them.
“Ah, Rainbow Dash, here you are,” he said. “Just wanted to advise you to not let it get too late tonight, sport. I’m going to need you playing striker on Sunday, and I’m expecting you for training tomorrow morning at ten. Alright? Enjoy the dance, kids!” He gave Twilight a cursory glance. “Miss Sparkle,” he added. “Give my best wishes to your brother, will you?”
“Thanks, coach?” Rainbow finally managed to say when he was already out of earshot. She turned to Twilight. “What the heck was that?” Twilight didn’t answer, but the way she suddenly avoided Rainbow’s eyes made Rainbow suspicious. “Wait a second. Did you have anything to do with that?”
Twilight shuffled on her feet, blushing even more, and finally nodded.
“What did you do?”
“My brother, Shining Armor, was kind of Coach Thunderlane’s prized player when he was still in school. So I asked my brother if he could give the coach a call and ask him to field you on Sunday,” Twilight blurted out, not looking up.
“What?!” Rainbow exclaimed. “What—what did you tell him?”
“The truth,” Twilight mumbled very quietly. “What I did and why it was unfair that you had to suffer for it.”
“But why would you—wait a second.” She leaned in closer, narrowing her eyes. “What about Flutters’ date? You got something to do with that too?” she asked.
“I, um, talked to Big Mac,” Twilight admitted. “I told him what I had done, and how Fluttershy was really disappointed that their date had been cancelled. And asked him to ask out Fluttershy again.”
Rainbow just kept staring at her. Finally, she asked, “Why? Why all this?”
Twilight still didn’t look up. “I’ve made a big mistake, and a lot people who had nothing to do with it were affected by it. It didn’t seem fair that they should bear the consequences of me… well… being too much of a coward to…” She cleared her throat, now shaking, and looked into Rainbow’s eyes. “To tell you that I like you and ask you to go to the dance with me.”
Rainbow didn’t reply. Even though she had known how Twilight felt about her from reading her journal, hearing it from her in person and, maybe even more importantly, seeing it in her eyes hit her like a freight train. She could only stare at the other girl slack-jawed, forcing her knees to remain steady and trying to force back the woozy feeling in her stomach being faced with Twilight’s feelings.
She realized that she had to say something to Twilight; the other girl was growing more nervous by every second the silence prolonged and seemed at the verge of turning and running away, and Rainbow was finally sure that she didn’t want her to run away. But what was there to say? What did one talk about at a dance?
“Dance!” she exclaimed. Twilight’s expression changed to confusion. “This is a dance,” Rainbow stammered. “So, um. Since we’re here. Wanna dance?”
Twilight’s eyes shot open wide in surprise. “Y-Yes!”
They made their way to the dance floor. As they reached the edge of the dance floor, the music suddenly died down, and around them couples stopped dancing and stared at the stage where apparently some sort of argument had broken lose between the DJ and Pinkie Pie. After a few moments, the music started again, only now it wasn’t the bold electro track from before but a slow ballad. Shrugging, Rainbow gave Twilight a smile and put her arms around her waist. Twilight put hers around Rainbow’s neck, and they began to move to the music, a little stiffly at first, but growing more and more comfortable.
“So you’re not mad at me anymore?” Twilight asked shyly.
“No,” Rainbow answered immediately. “Water under the bridge. I like you too much to stay mad at you, I guess.” Twilight gave her a relieved smile, and Rainbow tentatively pulled her a little closer. Twilight happily complied and leaned her head against Rainbow’s shoulder.
“Thanks for returning my journal, by the way,” she murmured, closing her eyes.
“Um, sure, no problem, Twi.”
Rainbow, reveling in the close contact, let her eyes wander across the dance floor. On the stage, the DJ and Pinkie Pie seemed to be finally solving their dispute. Rainbow didn’t care. All she cared about was that things with Twilight were okay again, and holding her in her arms. And the sweet tingly sensation Twilight’s hands on her neck caused her. She pulled Twilight even tighter towards her, eliciting a happy little sigh from her.
“I guess I should’ve gone to dances before,” Rainbow mumbled. “They’re pretty awesome.” Twilight chuckled into her shoulder, her breath tickling her. It felt great, sending a shiver all the way down the right half of her body. “I mean, I wouldn’t even have gone with you if it weren’t for all this…” Rainbow interrupted herself and froze in her spot. Twilight lifted her head and looked into her eyes questioningly.
Rainbow was shaking with suppressed laughter but didn’t let go of Twilight. “Ohmigosh, Twi!” she cried. “If it weren’t for the slime, and for your potion, and me being punished, and everything, we wouldn’t even be here!”
“I don’t understand,” Twilight said, looking at her confused. “What do you mean?”
“I wasn’t gonna go to the dance. If you’d have asked me after drinking your potion, I would’ve said no; I mean, I didn’t even know you, and I wasn’t gonna go, and I only went because Rares and the other girls thought I needed to blow off some steam after last week.” She grinned broadly. “Your whole crazy plan totally worked because it didn’t work!”
“That doesn’t even make any sense!” Twilight protested, starting to laugh as well, still holding on to Rainbow Dash.
“Does too!”
“Well, maybe it does,” Twilight conceded with a smile. “You know what? I don’t care either way. I’m just glad it turned out this way in the end.”
Rainbow nodded, grinning sheepishly. She slightly tugged on Twilight, and the other girl leaned her head against Rainbow’s shoulder again, to the latter’s great joy.
They danced on. The songs changed, but they never let go of each other. Rainbow was mesmerized by the sensation of Twilight in her arms, swaying along in the same rhythm as she, and by the way their bodies brushed against each other. Twilight’s hands were warm and soft on her neck, and before long she started to gently caress her nape. It took all of Rainbow’s willpower to suppress the pleasant shiver that almost caused her.
Finally Twilight moved back her head and looked into Rainbow’s eyes, still caressing her neck. Without even her own doing, Rainbow’s head leaned forward, Twilight mimicking the motion. Their noses gently brushed past each other, and Rainbow felt Twilight’s sweet breath on her face. She shut her eyes and closed the last remaining distance. The kiss was short and sweet, and as they withdrew, they remained lost in each other’s eyes for some time.
“Wanna bail, and maybe grab some milkshakes?” Rainbow asked with a growing smile.