by Present Perfect
"I've seen how she looks at you."
Twilight starts at Rarity's voice being right in her ear. "Wh-what?"
"Rainbow Dash, of course." Rarity gives Twilight a small, unreadable smile and preens at some imaginary flaw in her mane. "You're pretty much the only one among our circle who hasn't noticed. Well, aside from Pinkie Pie."
"I've noticed!" Twilight tries to hide her blushing by adjusting the telescope's aperture for the fifth time in as many minutes. "She's been... hanging around a lot recently. A-and, the other day she told me how nice my wings looked, I mean completely out of the blue."
"And how do you feel about her, I wonder?"
Twilight keeps her focus on the telescope, though she has ceased to fiddle with it. "I... I'm not sure. I haven't thought about it too much, I guess."
Rarity, eyes sparkling, all but quivering, leans in and whispers in Twilight's ear again. "Well, I can't think of a better time to initiate some romance, darling. I'll make sure the girls give you two a little space."
After a moment with no answer forthcoming, Rarity wanders off, giggling to herself.
Twilight harrumphs and turns, placing her eye to her telescope, the sunset a backdrop to her endless calibrations. The Spring Moon, from what Princess Celestia has told her, will be nothing short of spectacular. Princess Luna wishes to reinaugurate the ritual by making the first Spring Moon in a thousand years a real event to remember. Twilight hasn't found any more detailed information about it, though, just some ancient third-party information, which was off-hoof enough to be less than useful. Celestia has kept mum about what she should expect.
Twilight trips, falling back, and Rainbow surges forward, catching both her and the upset telescope.
"Whoa, careful!" Rainbow laughs. "Sorry I scared you."
"Nope!" Twilight says, sitting up straight, eyes wide. "Totally not scared! Ha ha."
Rainbow rolls her eyes and snorts. "Sun's almost down, Twilight, and everypony's ready."
"Picnic blanket and everything?" Twilight smiles.
"Yeah." Rainbow turns and takes a few steps before pausing. "Y'know, you don't really need a telescope to see the moon..."
Twilight laughs softly. "The Spring Moon display is going to involve more than just the moon, Rainbow. At least, that's what I've been led to believe." She frowns, her ears folding back. "Princess Celestia wasn't generous with details." Her ears spring forward and she continues. "But, should there be any stellar shenanigans, extraterrestrial escapades or interplanetary incidents tonight, I will most definitely be prepared to view them."
Rainbow flashes a smile. "Cool, I guess. Now, c'mon, the food's getting, uh... not eaten!"
Twilight looks back to her telescope, feeling something tug at her, but she rises and takes a step, and the tugging snaps. She finds a spread of sandwiches and salads, with her friends all around, laughing at some story Fluttershy is telling. The conversation is easy to pick up on because she understands these ponies. Whether it's Applejack talking about yields in the south orchard or Pinkie Pie stuffing macaroni in her ears, everything is familiar and welcome. She slides through the talk, a greased gear.
The one catch in these cogs of camaraderie is the look Rainbow Dash keeps giving her. It's coy, fleeting, a ripple on water. It's forward, yet fraught with a nervousness hardly fitting Dash.
Twilight doesn't notice it at first, but soon it's all she sees. Rarity is relaying the latest piece of gossip out of Manehattan, but Rainbow Dash is silently asking her something. Twilight shrugs, motioning to her ear. Rainbow Dash mimes looking through a telescope, and points at Twilight. After a moment's thought, Twilight shrugs, this time in acceptance.
If anypony else notices, they don't show it.
As the light fades, the food is eaten. As darkness descends, they scramble up the hill to the best viewing spots around the tree. Pinkie Pie, the official timekeeper, has been given a watch by Princess Luna herself, so they'll know the exact moment the moon is scheduled to rise.
Waiting for the moon: it's a tension warring inside Twilight with wondering what Dash might do. Thoughts leap through her mind, sparks from a fire. Rainbow has been herself all evening. Is Twilight just being silly? Did Rarity wind her up for nothing?
The moon, bright and full, makes its appearance, lighting the darkened sky, and Twilight and Rainbow Dash are the only ones near the telescope. Rainbow sits beside her, having spoken not a word since they reached the spot, her wings jittering now and again. As the moon climbs, its pale grey surface waxes a soft green. Ponyville Park is suffused with oohing and ahhing. Rainbow doesn't join them.
"Not that it isn't neat, but..." She scratches the back of her head. "I thought this was supposed to be something special."
Twilight doesn't have to say anything. Green sparkles shimmer in the sky, and the moon's coloring deepens to the lushest forest's foliage. Twilight places her eye against the telescope and gasps.
"I've never seen anything like it! I have no idea what Princess Luna is doing, but... Look, Rainbow, it's amazing!"
She can barely tear herself away to give her friend a turn, but she does. At Rainbow's "Wo-o-o-ow", she shivers in excitement.
"Isn't it amazing?"
Rainbow Dash looks at her, a smile on her face. "Yeah. Yeah, it is."
Twilight shivers again, and Rainbow places a wing over her. She's still smiling. Twilight is no longer concerned with the moon, but with her pounding heart. This moment weighs sacred around her. Something snaps into place, tugging her toward Rainbow. She ignores the sudden dizziness and gives in to the urge.
Rainbow Dash is warm.