Then Tomorrow Came

by PonyAmorous

Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Twilight Sparkle had never considered herself much of a romantic. Not in the sense that she lacked an appreciation of aesthetics or the beauty of nature (to the contrary she had actually penned a few poems during her long nights of studying the stars), rather, it was the concept of romantic love that she thought not worth her time. Of course, being the studious pony she was, she had attempted a fair investigation into the subject. She made observations on the antics of the Canterlot ponies her age, smitten with their first schoolyard crushes, and poured through stacks of romance novels, plays, and love songs. The bits about “love at first sight” seemed horrifically shallow, and the talk of “undying eternal love” and “soulmates” seemed needlessly hyperbolic and unrealistic.

Her parents claimed to love each other and they had always gotten along well together, but it seemed more like a quiet, peaceful thing between two ponies with compatible personalities. Twilight had concluded that the condition most ponies commonly referred to as love was in fact a small bit of compatibility mixed with hormones and dressed up in fancy language until it was mistaken for something profound. Furthermore, it was a condition she was in no hurry to be afflicted with.

From what she could tell, this 'love' tended to turn even previously reasonable ponies into simpering heaps of irrationality. If the colts and fillies weren’t taking idiotic actions to win, hold onto, or win back affections, then they were staring into each other’s eyes being nauseating. One of the plays she had read, a widely renowned classic by Shakespony, involved a first meeting, a marriage, and a pointless double suicide in the span of four days. Avid bibliophile that she was, she would never intentionally harm any book, but sweet Celestia had she been tempted to chuck that trash out of her tower window.

Twilight Sparkle had spent her life refining her intellect and shaping her mind into a paragon of logic and rationality. The thought of anything destroying her judgment in such a way was enough to send shivers down her spine. Yes, Twilight Sparkle would have been quite happy to live the rest of her life without suffering the debilitating effects of the disease called love. Unfortunately for her, the universe had other plans, all starting with a particularly vivid dream that struck one summer night.


Twilight pushed through the crowd of ponies. Where was she? Some kind of party. The Gala? A quick glance at the formally dressed ponies around her and at her own fancy dress confirmed it. There was something that she needed to find. No. Somepony she desperately needed to find for some reason.

She continued to search through the endless crowd, not sure exactly who she was looking for until she spotted a flash of color disappear through a door. Yes. It was definitely Rainbow Dash. She had to catch up to her and tell her . . . something . . . something important. She made her way through the door and found herself in the palace hedge maze. She charged ahead, a sense of urgency and dread growing in her stomach. She didn’t know why she was chasing after Rainbow Dash. Driven by some instinctive need, she just knew that she had to find Rainbow Dash soon or she might lose her chance forever.

As she ran deeper and deeper into the maze with no sign of Dash in sight, the feeling of unease and tension in her stomach blossomed into a cold panic as she broke into a full gallop. Shadows closed in around her vision and the walls seemed to fall away, leaving her in a pitch black void with only a small light off in the distance. Underneath that faint light she saw an unmistakable splash of rainbow colored mane.

Twilight galloped toward the light as fast as she could. She ran with mad desperation, as though she were drowning and the single speck of light and its occupant were the surface, taunting her with their promise of oxygen to fill her burning lungs. She tried to call out, but found she could make only the tiniest of inaudible squeaks. No matter how much she ran, the small island of light didn’t seem to be getting any closer. In fact, the only change she noticed was that everything seemed to be fading and blurring, as if someone had twisted the focus on one of her telescopes. Tears stung her eyes. Her pulse pounded in her ears like a malevolent timer counting down to a missed deadline. She saw the blurred form of the pegasus vanish before her eyes and gave a final cry of loss and despair before snapping her eyes open to a pleasant summer morning.


Twilight continued to lay in bed for a while, waiting for the adrenaline to work its way out of her system and for her heart rate to settle down. Already the details of the dream were blurring, the sequence of events becoming lost in the haze of memory, but the emotional impact, that feeling of desperation remained crystal clear. Pieces fell into place in her mind.

Really, it was obvious in hindsight. The extra bit of cheer she had when talking to a certain somepony, the bit of melancholy when having to part ways, the slightly greater than average disappointment when plans involving them had to be canceled or delayed. They all seemed to have been brought into focus by this one random dream. The haze of confusing emotions and sensations had crystallized into one inescapable truth. She was in love with Rainbow Dash.

“This is ridiculous.” Twilight muttered to herself as she jumped out of bed and began to pace back and forth across her bedroom. “This kind of thing isn’t supposed to happen to me. No. I am a rational, level headed pony, and I refuse to allow this.” Twilight stopped pacing to give a determined shake of her head, the matter now resolved.

“Yes. Rainbow is only a friend. A good platonic friend, with strictly platonic grace and beauty, who platonically brings joy to the room with her presence, whose platonic shapely flank-” this was going to be harder than she thought. A smell drifting up from downstairs caught her attention and elicited a growl from her stomach. Breakfast. Yes, breakfast would make the world make sense again.

Aside from less hungry, Twilight Sparkle did not feel any different after finishing her breakfast. She spent the rest of the day thinking about Dash, or rather trying not to think about Dash, which was much the same thing.

“No need to rush into hasty conclusions. Maybe there's another explanation. A perfectly reasonable explanation. I was hanging out with Rarity yesterday and she was going on and on about one of her silly romance novels. I've also been spending a lot of time with Dash this past week. My recent activities are just blending together in my subconscious and being formed into a loose narrative structure. Yep, perfectly reasonable explanation. Problem solved."

If you overlook the reason why you've been so adamant about spending so much time with Dash recently. Contrast how you practically run when on your way to meet with her with your lingering slow crawl away when saying goodbye. Then there's that tingling feeling that sweeps over your body whenever you're less than two meters away, always starting from the side closest to Dash. Yes, aside from all that, problem solved.

They say that the easiest pony to fool is yourself. Twilight disagreed. She had spent her life honing her analytical skills, training herself to separate out emotional arguments and personal biases so she could cut through to the underlying facts and logic. From her studies of cognitive science, she had read that even the smartest of ponies could easily have their personal judgement clouded. Since then, she had rigorously practiced deep introspection. Carefully picking apart what she knew and how she knew it. Viciously tearing apart her own arguments until she was sure they were solid. Twilight Sparkle, if anything, was the hardest pony for Twilight Sparkle to fool.

Yes I enjoy spending time with Rainbow Dash. As a friend. I enjoy spending time with all of my friends.

So I suppose you'd be just as happy if your plans to spend the day with Dash were canceled and replaced with Rarity or Pinkie instead?

Okay, fine. There's a bit of a difference. I really enjoy spending time with Rainbow Dash. We get along very well. And I tend to think about her fairly frequently when she's not around. And I might . . . maybe . . . find her a bit attractive. But that's it! I'm not in love!

Right. So you're just physically attracted to her and obsess over spending time with her to the point that your thoughts keep straying back at random times?


Okay. So you're not in love. You're just in a state that's categorically indistinguishable from love, yet somehow completely different. By the way, I recently discovered this fascinating new species of bird. It looks and behaves exactly like a duck, follows the same diet, can even interbreed with regular ducks! I plan to submit a report to the Canterlot Zoological society right away!


By the end of the day, Twilight Sparkle had come to accept the inevitable conclusion. She was smitten and smitten hard. She hoped this wouldn't spell the end of her existence as a rational being. She still felt mostly the same, just with a slight reordering of priorities. Up with the drives to eat and sleep, was a new addition of 'be around Rainbow Dash'. For the moment she could still hold coherent thoughts. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad. She would just have to wait and see.

***Three months later***

Twilight carefully mixed the acrid smelling powders in the small bowls in front of her, careful to keep them dry and away from any possible source of moisture. She also wore a small band around her right hoof to avoid any unwanted static discharge. Blowing the library into tiny flaming pieces wasn't how she wanted to start her day. Despite the slow, methodical caution in her movements, she was brimming with energy. Today was an important day. After 3 months, today was the day she acted on her feelings. Today was the day she confessed her love to Rainbow Dash.

She had been pleasantly surprised to find that her new found feelings hadn't degraded her cognitive capabilities as she feared they would. She still felt as sharp as she had before. She still ran the library efficiently and kept up with her studies and private experiments. Even her interactions with Dash hadn't fundamentally changed, she had just become aware of certain things she had been doing for a while. Little efforts to catch Dash's attention. How she steered the conversation either towards little things she had accomplished that day, in an attempt to make herself look impressive, or towards flight and aeronautics if she though Dash might be losing interest in the conversation.

At first, Twilight had been content to simply spend time around Rainbow Dash in any social situation, but over time, the small itch began to grow. First she simply wanted more time with Dash. Then more time with her alone. She wanted her undivided attention. She wanted Dash to look at her, hold her, kiss her. She had started to develop difficulties falling asleep at night. Action needed to be taken, so Twilight had turned her brilliant mind to the task of finding the perfect way to woo Rainbow Dash.

Now the day had finally come for her plans to bear fruit. She had agonized over the perfect way to declare her feelings, and had come up with something that fit Rainbow Dash perfectly. Surprisingly, she had gotten the idea from Trixie of all ponies. Twilight mixed another cup of copper sulfate into the large bowl of black powder in front of her.

First she would head over to the party at Sugarcube Corner. Dash had some kind of big announcement to share with all of them. The fact that it was to be followed with a party indicated that it was good news. She would tell Dash that she wanted to talk to her about something important after the party. After a fun evening with friends, the two of them would head out. She'd tell her that there was something she needed her opinion on and they would drop by the library to pick up her packages before heading out to the perfect secluded hill she had found for the occasion.

Then the air would be filled with technicolor explosions. A fiery version of Rainbow Dash would swoop around the sky doing tricks before crashing into an image of herself, recreating their first meeting. A little montage of the two ponies laughing and playing together would follow, with little hearts forming above the sky Twilight's head. Finally, it would end with a big explosion spelling out “I LOVE YOU” in big rainbow letters. It sure wasn't subtle, but subtlety and Rainbow Dash had never been on good terms.

It had taken a week of reading up on chemistry, pyrotechnics, and the necessary magic to make these enchanted fireworks, but it would all be worth it. Twilight couldn't help fidgeting a little in excitement as she poured the powder into the last of her paper wrapped packages, secured the fuse, and placed it next to the others.

“Alright. Operation Procure Paramour with Polychromatic Pyrotechnic Performance is a go.”

Twilight lightly giggled to herself as she skipped out the door on her way to Sugarcube Corner. She was vaguely aware of a grin plastered across her face as she thought about what kind of stunned expressions might run across Dash's face that night. A part of her mind tried to preach caution over getting her hopes up prematurely, but it wasn't having much success. Even if Dash didn't fall for her on the spot (or confess to secretly harboring the same feelings for her all along) it would make a good first step in the wooing process.

At worst she could say she actually tried. Her most likely predicted scenario involved a stunned Rainbow Dash tentatively agreeing to a trial first date. Her best case scenario . . . well, she had made sure to send Spike away for a sleepover with the crusaders for the weekend. It was at Rarity's place so he had no objections. Not that she expected things to go THAT well, but it was better to be prepared.

Practically floating, Twilight finally arrived at Sugarcube Corner to find Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie already helping themselves to refreshments while music played in the background. In typical Pinkie Pie fashion, balloons and streamers hung off of every surface. There also seemed to be a cord running up to a large canvas on the ceiling that looked heavily loaded with what Twilight assumed was more balloons and confetti. Pinkie looked like she was barely restraining herself from pulling the cord. It seemed they were just waiting for Fluttershy to arrive so the big announcement could be made. She quickly found Dash by the punch bowl and trotted over next to her.

“What's up Twilight? How's it going?” Rainbow Dash asked, completely unaware of the effect even a simple greeting had on Twilight's knees when uttered by that heavenly voice.

“Fine. I'm doing fine. Listen, there's something important I need to talk to you about when-”

“Hang on, Fluttershy just arrived. Do you mind if we pick this up after the announcement? I wanna get this outta the way as soon as possible.”

“Sure, no problem.” Twilight patiently responded as she gathered with her friends in front of an impromptu stage (really just some plywood on top of some cinderblocks). She guessed this news involved Applejack too, seeing as how she was standing next to Dash on the stage. As Pinkie turned off the music, Twilight leaned forward, eagerly awaiting the news.

“Well as y'all can probably guess, this bit ah news involves the both of us, but Rainbow was mighty insistent that she be the one to tell ya.”

“Thanks AJ. Well first of all, it's actually been going on for a while now. Pinkie already found out but we made her promise to keep quiet in exchange for letting her organize the party when we were ready.” Pinkie could be seen in the corner pantomiming locking her lips with a key, burying it, then building a house on top of it. “Anyway, I don't want to bore you with the whole story, so the short of it is, AJ and I are together. We're dating!”

Then Rainbow Dash turned and gave Applejack a long and passionate kiss, to the cheering of their friends, as Twilight Sparkle's world shattered and fell around her like the thousands of pieces of confetti falling past her head.