Almost every day was the same. Whenever Pinkie Pie had to work, Rainbow Dash found herself drawn to Sugarcube Corner by some supernatural force that she had no control over. Every time, she would sit in her corner table and order whatever Pinkie suggested, just so as to have an excuse to stay – because otherwise, it would’ve looked like she’d only gone to the bakery to stare at the waitress or something. Occasionally, the others – Twilight, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rarity – would join her; but more often than not, Rainbow was alone.
She would try something different each time. A new kind of cake, a new variety of tart, or an exotic new pie, obediently forcing down as much as she could – for Pinkie’s sake – even if she wanted to spit it out rather than swallow. But it was worth it, because whenever she stopped by the bakery, Pinkie Pie would be sure to wander over and say hi at some point, stopping to chat with her and her alone. No matter how brief these snatches of time alone together were, that they existed at all was enough to make it okay. It was more than a fair exchange.
“Dashie?” Pinkie asked one day. She was wearing the apron, that frilly one that suited her so well, and Rainbow Dash couldn’t stop staring at it, even though she knew she should look away. The heat on her cheeks seemed to think so, anyway.
“I have a sur-prise for you today!” the other mare singsonged. “And you’ll never guess what it is in a million billion years! So don’t even try, missy!”
“A surprise?” Dash repeated through a mouthful of cheesecake, before swallowing the gluey mess and wiping off her mouth, praying her suppressed grimace wasn’t too obvious. “What kind of surprise? Something awesome, or something radical, or something totally hilarious, or … ”
“Something amazing! But it’s a secret, and Pinkie Pie never gives away secrets, so you’ll just have to wait and see!”
“Aw, c’mon! I hate waiting! When do I get it?”
“You’ll find out when I’m done for the day,” the pink pony answered primly, hooves on her hips as she affected a serious air, even as she bounced slightly on her back hooves. “So you’ll just have to wait!”
Rainbow Dash would’ve waited anyway, even without an express order from Pinkie to do so. That much should’ve been obvious, even to Pinkie Pie, but maybe she was shallower than Dash had grown to suspect and really couldn’t see it. The pegasus had had her suspicious for a while regarding Pinkie’s supposed frivolity, but maybe she’d given her too much credit.
But Pinkie had a surprise for her. Pinkie had a surprise for her. Sure, Pinkie Pie bestowed elaborately planned surprises like candy, giving them freely of herself and expecting nothing in return for everypony she knew, but it had been a while since she’d planned anything specifically for Rainbow and Rainbow alone. What kind of “amazing surprise” could Pinkie Pie have possibly had for her?
Tickets to the Wonderbolts. The new Daring Do book. A barrel of cider, all for her, to start her own secret store with.
Nah. None of those really seemed to qualify for what Pinkie would’ve classified as amazing. But what would Pinkie Pie think to be amazing?
That was the best thing about Pinkie, really. Everything was amazing to her, even the smallest, most insignificant details of events. Her idea of amazing was probably something incredibly simple, like Pound Cake having learned a new word.
The vanilla bean cheesecake she had before her went unfinished, but Pinkie Pie gulped down the remains as soon as she reappeared at Rainbow Dash’s side and noticed the leftovers of the dessert.
“Yer not hungee?” Pinkie asked through a full mouth.
“I just got distracted, I guess,” Rainbow Dash replied easily, taking care not mention what she’d been distracted by. Dash had watched Pinkie Pie play waitress to the scattering of other customers present at the bakery half in admiration and half in envy, but she would never, ever admit that.
“That’s good!” Pinkie declared purposefully, nodding. “Come on, then! Surprise time!”
“Yup! It’s all set up, right here, right now, come ooooon!”
Pinkie Pie grabbed Rainbow Dash’s hoof and began to lead her away, dragging the dazed Pegasus behind her as she skipped through the bakery and dragged her up the stairs, singing ”The bestest surprise, the bestest surprise, for my best Dashie , the bestest surprise!” all the while.
In theory, Dash could’ve easily pulled free and followed on her own – but she didn’t quite want Pinkie Pie to let go yet. It felt like she couldn’t breathe. At least, not until Pinkie abruptly came to a halt and pushed Dash through the doorway leading into her studio apartment over the bakery. “Ta-da!” she sang as she did so.
Her surprise is her bedroom? Rainbow thought before she could help herself; then her eyes widened.
Pinkie Pie’s room was the girliest room Rainbow Dash had ever been in, decorated with pink and frills and ribbons and stuffed animals and candy and snacks, but that had never bothered her before. Now, though, it looked even more saccharine than ever before - namely because of the elaborate dessert buffet spread on the table standing in the middle of the room. It looked as though it held every kind of confection and dessert stocked at Sugarcube Corner.
Figures. Pinkie Pie’s idea of the “bestest surprise” constituted food. It was amazing how she could snack so much and still retain such a nice shape, instead of becoming giant. Yet another mystery regarding Pinkie’s very existence.
“Well?” Pinkie inquired from behind Dash after shutting the door. The pegasus turned to glance back at her friend, who was smiling with eager eyes.
“It’s…cool?” Dash guessed, having no idea what part of Pinkie Pie’s dessert collection she was supposed to appreciate as the surprise.
Pinkie, of course, giggled at that. “It’s also super yummy, you silly filly. Unless – oh no!” she suddenly cried, looking stricken. “Did you forget?”
“Um, forget what?”
Pinkie Pie tsk-tsked, shaking her head in disapproval, but the glimmer of mischief in her eyes told Rainbow Dash that she wasn’t actually upset about whatever she was going on about. “Don’t you remember? It wasn’t even that big a surprise, 'cuz we talked about it before and everything!” she paused for a brief millisecond, as if to give Rainbow a chance to reply, but continued anyway. “You need to pick out your very favorite new treats for your party, duh! Mr. and Mrs. Cake have been trying a bunch of new recipes lately, and there might be something really sweet and tasty that you like best that you don’t know about and don’t know is your favorite yet, so I told you I wanted you to try them and you said okay, so now you get to test them all out and tell me which ones you like best; and then I can make them for your party and they’ll be delicious!”
She gasped for air, having said all of that in one breath; but all Rainbow Dash could think was what party?
How could she have forgotten something like that?! Especially when Pinkie was willing to go to such lengths just to make sure she had exactly what she wanted, just to make her happy! What did it even matter that Rainbow had no idea what party she was talking about?!
“Wow, Pinks!” Rainbow Dash managed to state, willing enthusiasm into her voice. “Awesome! Yeah, you’re right, I totally forgot – that we’d planned this. For my party. But … but this is really cool! Um, wow!”
“I know, right! Wow, it was sooo hard to resist gobbling it all up by myself, but then I thought, Pinkamena Diane Pie, that’s no good! What about your bestest friend Rainbow Dash? She deserves some yummy desserts too! Especially since they’re for her in the first place!” Pinkie Pie continued, chatting in a breezy, cheerful manner as she hopped in place. Looking so proud of herself.
Rainbow could only stare, eyes roaming over the table display before her. She saw nothing as recognizably safe as a pie or a muffin. Everything looked odd and unfamiliar; delicate cakes heaped with cream, bowls of fluffy, practically immaterial mousses and creams, trays of strange looking bars and tarts and squares of brightly colored pastries. Nothing she could assume to be harmless.
“So to get ready for your normal party, we’re having a private, just-us-two dessert party! Good idea, huh?” the pink pony continued, still oblivious.
“Definitely!” What party? Was Rainbow Dash seriously such a bonehead that she’d forgotten all about something as –
As Pinkie Pie looking up at her with a furrowed brow and worried blue eyes, having somehow mysteriously teleported directly before Rainbow without the pegasus even noticing.
“Is something wrong?” she asked innocently when Dash yelped in surprise.
Could Pinkie see her sweat? “No,” she lied. “Course not.”
It was certainly very hot in Pinkie Pie’s loft, Rainbow Dash realized. Probably something Twilight could’ve explained in that egghead way of hers about heat rising and ovens or whatever. Because there was no other reason for her to be so flushed right then. Alone with Pinkie Pie in her bedroom.
“Yay! C’mon, then, let’s get started! I want to try this first. I made it all by myself, and I really, really wanna know what you think!” Pinkie Pie skipped towards a plate bearing some kind of soft, sticky looking pastry that kind of looked like really flat cinnamon rolls speckled with raisins, grabbing one and taking an enormous bite. “Mmm!”
Her expression was one of rapture as she chewed and swallowed, eyes closed. Then, opening them and with yet another smile, Pinkie whirled around and offered one to Dash. Not from the plate, but the one Pinkie herself had already taken a bite out of.
“Oh, ew!” Rainbow said, shoving Pinkie Pie’s hoof away. “I don’t want your gross germs! That’s nasty!”
“Rainbow Dash! That’s not very nice!” the other mare pouted. “My germs aren’t gross or nasty!”
“They totally are! But whatever. I’ll bite around it.”
Pinkie had begun to pull her hoof back, taking away the pastry, and Dash had suddenly been filled with a strange blend of alarm and guilt; so before Pinkie Pie could finish it off herself, Rainbow yanked it back and stole a bite, intentionally choosing not to notice where her teeth sank.
“Dashie! You just took a bite out of my bite, sillyhead! Now you’ve got yucky Pinkie Pie germs all over your mouth!” Pinkie shrieked, giggling madly and sounding scandalized.
“Who even cares? Here, you finish it,” Rainbow Dash shot back, trying not to think about what Pinkie had said as she gave her the rest of the roll. Pinkie Pie finished it in one enthusiastic gulp, seeming completely unperturbed about the possibility of getting yucky Rainbow Dash germs.
The mouthful Dash had stolen tasted warm and buttery and only a little sweet, decorated with plump raisins, but still richer than she cared for.
“So whaddya think?” Pinkie Pie asked, reappearing at Rainbow’s side as she wiped the crumbs from her mouth.
Right. They were here to taste-test stuff. Not, not to –
“It’s pretty good,” Rainbow said, choosing to focus on the warmth and softness of it rather than that nasty richness. If Pinkie really intended to cater the party with sweets she made herself, Rainbow sure as Tartarus wasn’t going to do anything to stop her, and she wasn’t going to offend her by blatantly telling her she didn’t like any of it. “I kinda like them."
“Really? Want another one?”
Pinkie held out the tray once more, letting the scent of the bun things waft almost-temptingly past Rainbow Dash’s nose.
“Nah, I don’t wanna fill up just yet,” Dash lied, pushing the tray away.
“Okie dokie lokie! Let’s see … let’s try … these!”
Pinkie Pie carelessly dropped the plate on the table with a clatter, causing Rainbow to flinch, before snatching up a square of some kind of creamy cake thing that Dash couldn’t even begin to identify. It looked like a shiny orange and white cube, with a bottom layer of cake and a top layer of cream. She held it out to Rainbow like some kind of precious treasure, and the pegasus eyed it warily.
“What is that?”
It smelled … citrusy. That was safe enough, wasn't it? Rainbow Dash liked oranges. So whatever this was, it couldn't be that bad.
"That doesn't matter!" Pinkie chastised, looking comically stern. "All you gotta do is tell me which ones you like the most - you don't need to know what they're all called! Just try it!"
Without waiting for a response, she pressed the square of cake against Rainbow's mouth, and Dash felt her heart stop. Without thinking, she parted her lips, leaning forward slightly to accept the treat that Pinkie had to offer.
It tasted just as she'd expected; oranges and cream. But Rainbow Dash didn't notice, instead becoming uncomfortably distracted by the way Pinkie's hoof almost lingered as Rainbow's mouth unintentionally brushed against it.
No. No. All in her head. She was being stupid and imagining things, and Pinkie Pie hadn't even noticed, as she was already moving on to something else entirely and leaving Rainbow paralyzed in her wake.
"How was that?" the party pony asked.
Rainbow Dash gulped, and Pinkie Pie still didn't notice, apparently unaware of the heat on her cheeks or the sudden desire Dash felt to flee. Swallowing yet again, the pegasus said "Nah. That didn't do anything for me."
When Rainbow was able to bring herself to look up at her friend, into her eyes, she was greeted by an expression of genuine worry, as though she'd said something far more disturbing than she thought she had.
"I guess it was okay," she amended quickly. "It was pretty good. Not bad."
She spoke hastily, as though to reassure Pinkie Pie against some fears she hadn't voiced; and Pinkie smiled, as though it had worked. "That's good!" she chirped. "I really like them, too! You know what else I like, though?"
"Hot sauce?" Dash asked, half joking and half hopeful.
Pinkie just laughed. "Well, yeah! But I also really like this stuff!"
The cyan pegasus moved to join her where she had stopped before a bowl of what looked like some kind of light, fluffy pudding of a deep shade of violet; the bowl was small and delicate, and a single spoon was propped up in the custard, as if begging somepony to eat it. "What's this?" she asked, frowning at it. "It looks like goopy toxic sludge."
"Can't you recognize mousse when you see it?"
"Mousse!" Pinkie Pie repeated proudly. "Usually it's made with berries or chocolate or whatever, and that can be really nice and delicious, but the Cakes are trying a new kind made of flowers and I actually haven't tried it myself but I like flowers, so doesn't it sound delicious?"
Mousse - oh, yeah, Rainbow Dash knew about that. Like fancy pudding. And when they'd gone to that dessert competition once, that donkey had made a Mousse Moose. She kind of liked pudding, and flowers were okay, so that sounded safe, too. "Let's try it."
Pinkie bent her head, coming up with the handle of the spoon in her mouth, then ducked forward to scoop a bit of the mousse.
"Ta-da!" she said through clenched teeth on the metal handle. "Try it!"
Rainbow's eyes widened. The spoon was already so short, and Pinkie Pie looked so pleased with herself as she offered it to Dash.
Don't think, she told herself. Don't make this weird.
She leaned forward and opened her mouth, accepting the spoon without a word, trying not to notice how very, very close their muzzles were or the way the excitement was stirring somewhere deep inside her as their eyes met. So very, very close.
"Good," she said weakly after swallowing the mouthful. "Really good."
"Really really really? I haven't tried it myself," Pinkie said casually after removing the spoon from her mouth and setting it back on the table. "So I don't know, but it sure looks yummy ... "
Watching Pinkie set down the spoon, looking at the bowl wistfully, remembering how they had been so very, very close mere moments earlier, Rainbow Dash felt herself turn even redder. The image of herself taking the spoon and offering it to Pinkie the way she herself had been bed, muzzles practically touching, flashed through her mind.
Stupid, stupid, stupid ...
"You should try it," she said instead, speaking maybe a little too loudly, as if to drown out her own thoughts. "It's not bad."
"Dashie!" Pinkie scolded, firmly placing her hooves on her hips as she adopted a warning stance. "All you've said so far is that everything's pretty good or not bad! You're allowed to not like stuff, you know! It won't hurt my feelings!"
"I know," Rainbow answered quickly. She could feel the sweat beading on her forehead as she struggled, trying to control her wings that threatened to burst open any second. "But I mean it! They're not bad!"
"So you really liked them all so far?" Pinkie asked, ears quirking as she cocked her head, squinting at the flustered pegasus. Rainbow Dash tried to look away, unable to bring herself to meet Pinkie Pie's probing eyes, instead focusing on examining the room itself. But there was no point to that; she'd been in Pinkie's room enough times to already know what it looked like, and there was nothing that caught her interest, forcing her to look back at the mare before her.
"Yeah," she managed to answer, forcing a grin. "I mean, anything you make has to be awesome, right?"
What did that even mean? Holy Celestia, she was an idiot. Pinkie Pie just had to think that Rainbow Dash was the biggest moron in the world now, and -
"I'm so happy you like them!" Pinkie squealed, flying forward and claiming Rainbow Dash in a suffocating hug that Rainbow wouldn't have broken free from for the world, even as she felt herself emit a single strangled, choking gasp for air as the other pony squeezed. "I knew today would be fun!"
And she pulled away, leaving her hooves lightly touching Rainbow's waist - not quite releasing her from the hug completely. Pinkie's perpetual smile seemed to soften then, as she said, "I'm really glad you're here, you know." So sweetly and innocently and how in Tartarus did she manage to be so cute all the time?! "It's always more fun to eat snacks with my friends, and Gummy doesn't really like cakes and stuff that much, I think."
AAAAAARRRGGGH TOO CUTE.
Rainbow Dash nervously licked her lips, trying to ignore the thudding of her heart. The room was so small; too small, really, with just her and Pinkie Pie and a veritable smorgasbord of sweets she had no interest in, so warm and cramped, and there was Pinkie Pie, looking so -
"Actually," Rainbow began, eyes locked on Pinkie's; then she chickened out. "I like this too. It's pretty fun."
"C'mon, then! I've got tons more tasty treats to try today!" Not even stumbling once on the alliteration. "Lemme find you something good! Hmm ... "
Nopony could be so thick as to not have had even the slightest clue of a crush as blazing as hers, yet Pinkie Pie continued to act so artlessly as to leave Rainbow utterly dumbfounded; as playful and guileless as a child. Dainty and adorable and every single freaking thing Rainbow Dash hated and shunned and despised, yet couldn't stop thinking about. Naive and good-hearted and the complete and total opposite of he brash pegasus herself. Like sugar and spice.
"Try this one next!" Pinkie Pie announced, offering some kind of tart. This time, Rainbow didn't hesitate, eager to take it from Pinkie's waiting hoof. She practically gagged as her mouth closed around what tasted like a crumbling mass of flaky crust and brown sugar.
"Great," she choked, ignoring how thirsty it instantly made her. "Awesome!"
Pinkie frowned slightly at that, watching as Rainbow struggled to swallow. Could she see the discomfort on Rainbow's face? Oh, man. Oh, geez ... was she really so obvious? She had to be.
The room was so small ... and there was only two of them, and more than anything else in the world, Rainbow Dash wanted to taste Pinkie Pie and see if she were as sweet as she seemed.
"Pinkie?" she began, voice halting only slightly.
"Yeah?" Pinkie Pie asked, mouth quirking up at the corners as she glanced over her shoulder at her friend.
"I sort of need to tell you something. Kind of."
She had a tiny fleck of cream on her cheek; would it be weird if Rainbow just ... ?
"I just ... "
If Rainbow didn't like sugar, would that make kissing a baker weird?
"Is something wrong?" Pinkie Pie asked, the slightest hint of concern in her voice.
"I ... "
Kissing?! Who said anything about kissing?!
"I really ... "
Pinkie, waiting so patiently.
" ... don't like sweets."
Rainbow swallowed, trying not to look as nervous as she felt while she waited for Pinkie to react.
"Why didn't you just say so, silly?" Pinkie said breezily, beaming another thousand-watt smile before patting Rainbow Dash on the head and moving to go past her, towards the door. "I'll make sure to have plenty of hot sauce for your party instead, then! And chips and hay friends and stuff! It's no problem!"
"You - you really don't care?" Dash asked with some hesitation, turning to follow Pinkie. The disbelief in her voice was obvious.
"Of course not! Although - "
The pink pony stopped with her hoof on the handle of her door. With her back to the pegasus, her expression was hidden, meaning that Rainbow Dash didn't notice as a sly smile crossed her features until she turned to cast a glance back at her. "I'm kinda sorta wondering something now," she continued.
Maybe Rainbow Dash would've seen and understood the smile if she'd been focused enough to even notice the look of mischief Pinkie wore, but she was too relieved to care. The baker had a way of obsessing over slights and taking offense to the silliest things, and she'd been afraid that Pinkie Pie would find a way to be personally offended by her distaste for sugar; that she wasn't was both unexpected and gratifying.
Rainbow had trailed Pinkie to the door, eager to escape the claustrophobic little studio apartment, when she asked "Wondering what?" in that unthinking way of hers.
"Do you hate all sweet things?"
"Uh - "
And Pinkie Pie suddenly whirled around, throwing her forelegs around Rainbow's neck and yanking her forward, mashing their mouths together in a sloppy, glorious mess of a kiss, lips smacking loudly when she abruptly broke away.
The moment their lips touched, Rainbow Dash froze, unable to move or react or think about anything at all except how Pinkie inexplicably and wonderfully almost tasted a little like hot sauce; when Pinkie pulled away, she remained paralyzed, mouth hanging open in shock as the pink pony grinned up at her. To her horror, her wings had finally burst open, stiff and fully extended.
"P-P-Pinkie Pie?" she gasped, spluttering, her eyes enormous with surprise. "W-why, I mean, y-you, you ... "
And Pinkie burst out laughing.
It wasn't her typical, charmingly innocent giggle-snort laugh; instead it was a maniacal, gleeful cackle, like a pony who'd just pulled off the best prank ever and could no longer contain her mirth. She actually had to lean against Rainbow Dash for support; even though she'd broken their kiss, she'd left her legs encircled around Rainbow's neck in a loose embrace, and she now leaned against the pegasus, forcing Rainbow to return the embrace just to keep Pinkie from falling.
"Oh, oh my gosh!" Pinkie cried in between bouts of delighted laughter. "You should've seen your face! It was sooo funny! You were all oh my gosh did that just happen? And - and your face looked so funny!"
"Pinkie Pie, what the hay?" Dash shouted, shoving Pinkie away from her. The pink pony collapsed, falling to the ground as she cackled and making no effort to catch herself. "What'd you do that for?!"
"You're so silly, Dashie!" Pinkie giggled after a moment of struggling to rise once more without collapsing in a pile of laughter, affectionately nuzzling her horrified friend. "Didja think your Auntie Pinkie Pie was seriously so loco in the coco that she wouldn't even notice something like that about you? Of course I knew! I mean, duh! You always gave me your Nightmare Night candy, and you only ever came to Sugarcube Corner when I was working or we were going as a group, and you always ask for my special hot sauce to put on stuff - it was super duper obvious!"
"You knew?!" Rainbow shouted, her wings now flared in anger rather than delirious happiness. Her face was scarlet in embarrassment. She could still feel how soft Pinkie's mouth had been on her own, and all she could think about was how much she wanted to feel that kind of softness again. "You knew and you kept shoving stuff at me?!"
"You kept coming to the bakery and ordering it! I didn't make you eat any of it! And besides, you'd always share them with me, and I liked sharing snacks with you!" Pinkie Pie retorted, eyes still shining with laughter, the corners of her mouth stretched into a wide smile; but after she said this, her smile seemed to soften slightly, her eyes turning a little more tender.
"And I thought it was really nice of you, too," she added, her voice a little softer as well, now. "I liked having you come see me. I kept waiting for you to tell the truth about why you kept coming, but you never did, so ... I took matters into my own hooves!"
Rainbow blinked. "So, wait. You planned all of this? This was all just some dumb prank?" she asked, her voice sounding very distant and faraway to her ears.
Pinkie started snickering again, before beckoning for Rainbow Dash to come closer so that she could whisper conspiratorially in her ear, "There's no party. I made that up. But you can have one if you want as an apology for me playing a joke on you," she added. "Because nopony should be lied to about parties and I'm very, very sorry that I was a Meanie Pie and did that to you."
"I don't care about the party!" Rainbow Dash shouted, bolting several feet into the air, wings beating hard and fast in anger. Pinkie Pie drew back, seemingly startled by how Rainbow's voice had picked up; but Dash didn't notice. Instead, she was thinking back to the artless way Pinkie had been acting before, so innocent and cute and - "You were doing it on purpose? You were just messing with me?!"
"I wasn't just messing with you," Pinkie answered calmly. "I like you too."
For the second time that day, Rainbow's heart stopped.
"Huh?" she asked stupidly.
"I like you too," Pinkie repeated sweetly, taking care to enunciate clearly. "So it's okay. I just wanted you to tell me the truth, because friends shouldn't have secrets from each other like that or feel embarrassed about those things."
Rainbow Dash touched down before Pinkie, suddenly feeling a little weak in the wings. Her was was flooded with heat, and in the very pit of her stomach, she felt more horrified and embarrassed than she could even begin to explain. "The truth about why I kept coming?" she repeated faintly.
"You're the bravest, strongest, coolest pegasus I know," Pinkie continued gently, reaching forward to tap Rainbow's snout with her hoof. "But know you really well, too, and I know how silly and shy you can get about mushy, sappy, feelings stuff. It's okay, though, 'cuz I like you too! So now you don't have to try and be sneaky anymore, and you can just come and visit me 'cuz you wanna see me and I wanna see you without all the pretending, and we can kiss and stuff just for fun, and I can throw you special parties and you can bring me flowers! Doesn't that sound like fun?"
The pegasus couldn't speak, as it seemed that some external supernatural force seemed to be strangling her, choking and silencing any words that she might have had in response to such a declaration. But Pinkie Pie stood before her, patiently waiting for a response, looking quite pleased with herself about the events she'd orchestrated. And not even the tiniest bit ashamed of her confession at all.
"Pinkie," Rainbow began when the mysterious force decided to loosen its grip enough to allow her to speak. "Pinkie, I ... I ... "
"You don't have to say it if you still feel shy," Pinkie Pie suggested. "We can just kiss some more. Only this time for realsies."
Rainbow Dash swallowed, and Pinkie smiled, nodding slightly in encouragement.
Seconds passed, and then Rainbow Dash threw herself at Pinkie Pie, practically pouncing on her with just as much eagerness as Pinkie herself had displayed mere moments before.
"You suck, Pinkie," Rainbow managed to gasp when they finally broke the kiss for air. "You suck so much! That wasn't funny, you know! I wasted so many bits here, and you knew why the whole time, and you just kept letting me buying you stuff!"
"'Cuz that's what you do for marefriends, duh! You're supposed to buy them candy and desserts and presents and stuff!" Pinkie said between giggles and panting breaths.
"I'm getting you back for that, I'm totally getting you back for that, just you wait," Dash muttered, yanking Pinkie against her before forcing their lips together once more, claiming her mouth with her own. Pinkie Pie squealed in happiness when she did so before throwing her forelegs around Rainbow's neck in return, yanking the pegasus against her as well so that they were locked in a fierce, almost desperate hold on one another as they kissed.
"How're you gonna get me back?" Pinkie asked when they broke away for the second time, sounding more eager than tentative.
Rainbow Dash didn't answer, instead tackling her anew, pushing the other mare almost roughly onto the pillows of her bed. Pinkie Pie gasped in scandalized delight; but then, rather than continue the kiss, Rainbow instead wrapped her forelegs around Pinkie, hugging her as she herself had been hugged by the party pony so many times in the past.
"Dashie, what're you doing?" Pinkie asked curiously.
"We're snuggling," Rainbow answered fiercely, even as her face turned a furious red, as though being angry about it would somehow make it tough enough for it to be cool. She'd never been the kind of pegasus who'd wanted to snuggle or be affectionate or gentle with those she loved, but with Pinkie, all she wanted was the softness and the sweetness that was in the pink pony's very nature. Even if she'd shunned such things in the past, at the moment, that comfort and warmth was what she wanted more than anything else in the world.
But Pinkie didn't laugh for once, much to her relief. Instead, eyes alight with understanding, she reached up to tug Rainbow Dash down on top of her once more, and, with a soft sigh of pleasure, she snuggled her close. She hummed in satisfaction before running a hoof over Rainbow's brightly-colored mane, and Rainbow Dash closed her eyes, allowing herself to become lost in Pinkie Pie's light.
"I like you, Pinkie," she managed to say at last, with no lingering shame or self-resentment to be heard in her voice at having confessed such a weakness or frailty.
"I like you too, Dashie," Pinkie Pie answered, and Rainbow felt her place a soft kiss on her hair.
She felt her mouth curve into a smile, feeling almost giddy as she tilted her head up to return the favor, planting a tiny kiss of her own on Pinkie's mouth; and the two of them spent the rest of the afternoon together in Pinkie's loft, the rest of the world forgotten in favor of the sweet taste of each other's kisses.