• Published 23rd Jun 2013
  • 2,461 Views, 43 Comments

Lost Wing, Lost Identity - Hopeful_Ink_Hoof



What do you do when the attribute you use to define yourself is no more?

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A Day Around Town

The walk through town was a bit awkward. It seemed like some of the ponies that they passed were staring as the two went by. Not all of the ponies, or even the majority for that matter, but enough for it to be noticeable.

Rainbow Dash actually did not notice it. She was paying more attention to the ground and the road beneath her hooves than anything going on around her, with one exception. As she walked slowly, most of her thoughts were inwards. The more she walked the more she wanted to fly. Unfortunately that reminded her of the fact she could not fly.

On occasion, her thoughts -- and gaze -- would drift to Twilight Sparkle. There was one upside to all this; Dash was getting ready to spend more time with Twilight. She was not sure why, but that excited the pegasus a little. It was similar to a way she felt about seeing Gilda again... until it was discovered what a jerk the griffin had become.

Rainbow Dash flicked her gaze toward her friend. Ever since the day of the accident, Twilight had been putting all of her time and energy into seeing if there was a way to help and grow the wing back. Would she be working so hard for any of her other friends? Probably. She was very smart and seemed to be a quick study. Not just about books either. That would have included friendship. The alicorn had been a unicorn with no friend that only cared about her studies when she arrived in Ponyville. Now she had some really good friends and had even helped everypony in town. In Equestria if you included their world-saving endeavors. Still, a part of Rainbow Dash could not help but wonder if there was something more about it.

For her part, Twilight Sparkle was taking notice of the other ponies watching the two of them and was unaware of her friend's glances. Everywhere they went, others seemed to be watching them. Often when Twilight would look at them, the others would quickly glance away. Whether it was because Rainbow Dash was walking around instead of flying or because they were not yet used to seeing Twilight with wings, she was unsure. She was tempted to ask, but thought better of it. If they were staring because of her, there was nothing to really do about it since she was the same pony she had always been over all. If they were staring at Rainbow Dash, then drawing attention to the issue would only make the pegasus more self-conscious and depressed about the issue.

Twilight chewed on her lip as she looked at her friend. How was Rainbow Dash feeling? Of course she was upset, but how severely? Did the conversation last night help any? It had been rather odd to Twilight, opening up like that seemed extremely out of character for her friend. The few times Twilight knew that Rainbow Dash had been nervous or scared, the pegasus had put on an act of pretending everything was fine. Right now, you could easily tell that she was upset. Then again, this was something that Dash had never been through before. Probably never even imagined it was a possibility. Celestia knows that Twilight never did. Not to any of her friends.

The two of them reached their first destination: Town Hall. Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash went inside and headed up toward the top, where the weather station was located. It made sense since Town Hall was the oldest and tallest building in Ponyville. The weather team would be one of the first groups set up when Ponyville became a town proper, and they would want to have a high vantage point both as a natural inclination for pegasi and to get a better view of the surrounding sky for their weather control duties. It also made sense that there were ways to access it from the ground since earth ponies such as the mayor would need to be able to speak with them.

As she followed Rainbow Dash up toward the office, Twilight Sparkle found herself getting excited. She had never been up to the weather station before. Twilight had been curious about it, but had never had an excuse to visit. Now was her chance to see what it actually looked like. She could barely stay behind Rainbow Dash as they reached the door and pushed it open.

It was a disappointment. The office looked like just that: an office. Opposite the door was a window large enough to fly in and out through that was currently open. To the right was a small area with chairs and a water cooler. One pegasus stood there, getting a drink. To the left was a counter. Behind it sat another pegasus, currently busy with paperwork. She looked up as the two approached.

"Hello Rainbow Dash," the desk pony said with a smile, "What brings you here today?"

"Hey," Dash replied as she moved closer, "Just checking to see how things are. Is Mayfly in?"

"Sorry, she's out." The pegasus behind the desk gave a shrug. "So much is going on that we are short-staffed as it is. Everyone is pulling double shifts and working as much as they can. If we didn't need to have someone at the desk at all times, I'd probably be out putting clouds over at the carrot farm."

"Short-staffed? Why would you be short-staffed?"

"Well after... uhm..." the pegasus made a motion toward Rainbow Dash, "your accident, the main weather control officers in Cloudsdale thought we should undergo re-certification and review safety procedures."

"What?" Dash growled. "It was an accident because of The Everfree Forest. No way could it have been expected." The pegasus at the desk gave a shrug, causing Rainbow Dash to let out a sigh. "The least they could do is keep enough ponies around to run things smoothly. I guess I'll leave you to your work then."

"I'll tell Mayfly you stopped by." The pegasus at the desk gave a small wave as Rainbow Dash turned and started walking away. Twilight watched a moment, then followed.

***

"I don't know if this is a good idea," Twilight said as they approached the field. "I mean I don't see why you would want to come out here when you can't practice your stunts. Seems like it would just make you depressed." MORE depressed, actually, she thought as she continued to follow her friend.

Rainbow Dash did not say anything. She just sat down on the hill and looked out over the field. It was just open ground outside the edge of town. There was no official owner. Most importantly to Rainbow Dash, it was where she did her training. Practicing old stunts and creating new ones, improving her speed, avoiding obstacles for her agility, she had done it all out here. Her and Twilight Sparkle were even sitting on the same hill that Twilight and the others had been sitting the last time Dash had crashed and injured herself during practice.

Looking at it now, she realized that Twilight was right. Dash had hoped that being out at the field would be comforting. Instead, it caused an ache in her wings to spread wide and take to the air. Jaw clenching, she tried to think about other matters: the smell of the grass, the sound of the breeze making it sway, the warm sun shining down from above.

This place sucked.

Twilight saw her friend sag then lay down. It sent a slight pang of guilt and sadness through her to see Dash so upset. Twilight moved closer then laid down, pressing shoulder to shoulder. She lifted up one wing, stretched it out, and settled it over her friend. Rainbow Dash did not seem to respond.

"How about after this we go get some lunch at Sugar Cube Corner?" Twilight asked, giving a small smile.

"I guess," Rainbow Dash mumbled, shifting slightly. As she laid there, Twilight kept close and waited patiently.

***

As the two walked back to town and started toward Sugar Cube Corner, Rainbow Dash began to slow down. Twilight tilted her head back, keeping track out of the corner of her eye. Dash did not actually stop, but she had slowed down and seemed to be paying attention more to the ground than anything else around her.

Twilight slowed down as well, moving to stand beside Rainbow Dash. When the two of them were side by side, Twilight gave Dash a small bump with her shoulder, smiling when her friend looked up. The pegasus gave a small smile back, but did not seem to really feel it.

As they reached Sugar Cube Corner, Rainbow Dash stopped completely. Twilight took several more steps before noticing. Turning, she looked back at her friend again.

"Are you coming?" she asked

"Yeah," Dash replied, "just give me a minute." Twilight gave a nod and stood waiting for her friend. She watched as Dash took a deep breath and straightened up. The blue pegasus moved past, heading for the door and into the eatery.

This time Twilight Sparkle saw Rainbow Dash put on the act. Something seemed to fall into place and make more sense about the pegasus to the purple pony. The way she acted when it was just the two of them or when walking the street was the way Rainbow Dash actually felt. The way she was behaving now was an act. It was the same as when Scootaloo visited in the hospital and during the party last night. For some reason, Dash did not want to let others know how badly this whole situation was bothering her. Does that mean that she had opened up a little last night? Would she be acting like that around Twilight if not for the confession? Or would the two of them living together for a while mean that the truth would have come out sooner or later? Twilight shrugged to herself and went inside.

"Hello, Mrs. Cake," she said as she saw the pale blue earth pony behind the counter.

"Hello," Mrs. Cake said, smiling at the two. "It's nice to see you two."


"Where's Pinkie Pie?" Rainbow Dash asked, looking around.

"She was nice enough to take the twins out for a while." Mrs. Cake started for the kitchen. "But she made a special order for you two before she left. Just find a place to sit and I'll be right out with it." Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash looked at each other a moment in confusion. Knowing they were coming was odd in such a way as to be normal for Pinkie, but not staying around to meet them seemed out of place for her. After giving a shrug to each other, the two went to sit in a back corner of the room.

After a minute Mrs. Cake returned and set a tray on the table in front of Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash. On it were two cupcakes. Each was frosted to match the color of the ponies' coat, with their cutie mark made out of sugar candy on top. When the wrappers were peeled away, Rainbow Dash's cupcake was dyed a rainbow of colors (somehow separated from each other but touching), and Twilight Sparkle's was purple with sugar crystals that refracted the light to sparkle.

Twilight Sparkle started to eat hers, letting out a small noise of pleasure. The cupcake had taste of blackberry to it. The sugar crystals gave it a granulated texture unfortunately, but not bad enough to ruin the treat. Not perfect, but pretty good. It could be fun to be part of Pinkie Pie's taste testing experiments, provided she did not try anything to get too creative or strange. She looked up at her friend, and slowed down.

Rainbow Dash was eating hers, sort of. It was more taking nibbles on it then actual bites. The face she made gave the impression that it was more out of politeness than actually enjoying the cupcake. It was for Twilight to tell exactly what Rainbow Dash was thinking, but it was clear she was not happy about her special treat.

***

The two of them returned to the library after lunch. Rainbow Dash had decided that she had enough of today. Although she would not say so, she was also uncertain what else to do with the day. Usually she would have worked out and taken a nap by now. In a way, she had gotten a work out by walking all over Ponyville, and a nap actually sounded very tempting.

"I'm going to go lay down," she said as the two of them went inside.

"Rainbow Dash," Twilight called out, "wait. I want to tell you that you don't have to hide how you're feeling. Not from any of your friends, and certainly not from me. I won't say we know what you're going through, because after last night's conversation I don't think we ever will. That doesn't change the fact that we.. that I ... want to be there to help you however I can. There's no need to put on a brave face and pretend everything is okay when it's really not."

Rainbow Dash had stopped when Twilight had called her name. The pegasus had stayed where she was as her friend talked. As Twilight finished, Dash slowly turned around and walked toward her friend. Tears filled the pegasus's violet eyes, running down her cheeks.

"Thank you." She kissed Twilight on the cheek. "And thank you for walking around Ponyville with me. It was nice." With that she turned and headed back to what was her room while she was staying there.

Twilight stood in place as her friend left the room, then dropped to sit on her haunches. She stared at the floor of the library, her face burning as it turned a deep red.

What just happened?