• Published 11th Jul 2013
  • 7,049 Views, 115 Comments

Head in the Clouds - Timaeus

After a dispute about the latest Daring Do novel, baking shenanigans, and a very vivid dream, Rainbow Dash finds herself questioning her feelings towards Twilight.

  • ...

Chapter 2

“I can’t believe we were actually able to clean everything up and finish the cupcakes before the Cakes got home,” Twilight giggled wearily, leaning against Rainbow for support as they slowly wound their way back to the library. “Ugh, though I think I’ll be sick if I ever see cupcake batter ever again.”

“Yeah no kidding,” Rainbow shook her hoof limply, trying to relieve it of its ache. “I still can’t feel anything after all of the scrubbing we did. I don’t even wanna know how those fillies got so much batter everywhere.”

“Mhm,” Twilight agreed quietly, lifting herself away from the pegasus to stretch out her stiff back. She was rewarded with a series of loud pops. “Oh Celestia, I needed that.” Twilight paused, examining the state of both her and her friend. “Rainbow.” Her eyes traveled along the form of her friend, past her batter-covered wings, and up her coat stained with flour, sweat, and other bits of batter from earlier and caught her gaze. “You’re a mess!” she giggled, prodding at a particularly flour-coated part of her shoulder. “There’s more flour on your coat than we put in most of those cupcakes!”

She fell against Rainbow, trying to hold back her laughter. Rainbow rolled her eyes but smiled, “Har har, look who had clown for breakfast.” She prodded the exhausted unicorn with a hoof. “You aren’t looking much better yourself, egghead!”

Twilight immediately stopped laughing, standing away from Rainbow to get a better look at herself. Truth be told, Rainbow was right. Batter and flour clung to her coat, stubbornly refusing to be brushed away and matting it down in several places. Her mane was plastered to her forehead from the sweat of the day’s exertions, and her face was caked with flour.

“Heh heh, yeah, I guess we both really need a bath, huh?” Twilight scratched the back of her head with a hoof sheepishly. After a shared laugh, the two continued down the road, leaning on each other from support. “It may have been exhausting, but I’m glad we helped Pinkie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her that frantic before, at least not nervously frantic. I guess she must really value the Cakes’ trust in her.”

“Yeah I guess,” Rainbow shrugged, letting her wings hang limp from her side as she brushed up against Twilight. “It was a lot of work, and I think I’m gonna head home and just sleep for the next ten hours, but it was also kinda fun. Scoots and her friends may be little bundles of chaos, but they sure know how to make baking a few cupcakes way more interesting than it has any right to be.”

“Yeah, I’ll never understand how those three manage to cause so much destruction wherever they go...”

Rainbow shivered against her friend at the thought, “It didn’t help that we needed to babysit the twins on top of all of that. I swear, those two thought I was some sorta pegasus jungle gym.”

“Oh!” Twilight cried, jumping in front of Rainbow in a playful crouch. “But remember when the twins started crying again and you went to go play with them? That was so adorable!” Her eyes sparkled and her tail swished a few times happily behind her, giggling at Rainbow’s deadpan glare.

“Hey! Rainbow Dash does not do adorable!” Rainbow huffed, blowing an orange lock of hair out of her face. “Or cute either! So don’t even think about saying that, Sparkle! If anything, I’m awesome. I’ll leave the ‘cute’ stuff to you.” She stepped forwards, lightly bopping Twilight on the nose.

Twilight wrinkled her nose, sticking her tongue out at the pegasus. Not giving her a chance to say anything, Twilight turned and continued walking, playfully flicking Rainbow’s own snout with her tail. “My my, Rainbow, I didn’t know you thought so well of me. Cute? Me? I thought that was more Fluttershy’s area.”

Whether it was due to exhaustion or because she honestly felt that way, Rainbow blurted out the next bit without thinking, “Nah, you definitely got cute under wraps.” She caught up to the unicorn and spared a sidelong glance. “After a shower you could probably give even Fluttershy a run for her money.”

“Oh is that so?”

“Yeah totally. I’ve seen you when you really get into a book,” Rainbow chuckled, averting her gaze towards the approaching library. “You curl up in front of the fireplace or at your desk and you’re just so focused that you tune everything else out. The way your nose scrunches up when you try to work something out... and how peaceful you look... it’s actually pretty awesome, and adorable too.”

Twilight laughed slowly, cheeks burning at the compliment. She fell in line with the pegasus, using her as a support once more. “You really must be tired, Rainbow. You’re getting all mushy, that isn’t like you. We’d best get you home before you get even sappier on me.”

“Heh heh, yeah I guess. Now if only it were that easy,” She groaned, lifting a batter-coated wing. “Takeoff is gonna be next to impossible with my wings like this, let alone flying. And preening is gonna be worse than normal with all this batter stuck between my feathers.” She shook her wing, trying and failing to dislodge some of the batter persistently clinging to the appendage as if to emphasize her point.

“Oh, did you need some help with that? I’ve actually read a couple of books on pegasus anatomy, and I have a fairly good understanding of the preening process I think.”

“Umm,” Rainbow blushed, thinking about the implications of Twilight preening her wings, “err, Twilight? Thanks for the offer, I really appreciate it, but-”

“Oh, right, sorry!” Twilight interrupted, afraid that she overstepped her boundary. “I didn’t mean to offend or anything, I was just trying to be a good friend!”

“No, no, it’s not that, it’s just...” Rainbow paused, clicking her tongue as she thought of the best way to explain. “Preening another pegasus’ wings is a really... intimate act. It’s normally something that pegasi only let family or, uhm, really close ponies do, like their special somepony,” she said slowly, watching the dawn of realization grow on Twilight’s face in the form of a bright crimson streak colouring her coat.

“Not that I don’t appreciate the offer!” Rainbow said quickly, backpedaling. “It’s just that...” She trailed off, waving a hoof in the air to try and say what her words were failing to do.

“No no no no, I completely understand,” Twilight raised her hooves, remains of a blush still warming her cheeks. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply anything... like that.”

“No worries,” Rainbow said simply, willing the last of her own blush to die down. She coughed awkwardly, gesturing to the library with a hoof. “Come on, let’s get you home. It’s starting to get late and we’ve both had a long day.”

Twilight nodded silently, falling in line with her friend once more as they half walked, half stumbled down the dirt road. A comfortable silence fell between the two as they journeyed through the small town mere inches apart, now both very aware of how close together they were walking, coats brushing against each other and tails swishing past their legs. Yet neither felt any desire to separate, minds too fogged and bodies too drained to be apart and feel the cool kiss of the wind against their coats.

As they walked, Rainbow’s mind couldn’t help but wander back to this morning’s argument over Daring Do. She didn’t know exactly why, but the very thought of Daring with Silver left a vile taste in her mouth.

It was so obvious to her that Daring totally belonged with Rosetta. The bookworm university professor was the perfect match for Daring! While Daring was rash, adventurous, and competitive, Rosetta was smart, collected, and thought things through, not to mention (at least in Rainbow’s mind) smokin’ hot with her bright lavender eyes, sleek coat, and neatly trimmed mane that framed her face in the best possible way. They were the perfect couple! One thing that bugged her was that Twilight couldn’t see it. She turned to look at the exhausted unicorn, head resting on her shoulder while they walked. Now that she thought about it, Twilight bore a striking resemblance with how she pictured Rosetta would look. Rainbow shrugged it off as a coincidence before going back to her grumbling.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a lavender, flour covered hoof entering her field of vision, bopping her on the nose. Breathing in from the surprise, Rainbow inhaled a bit of flour, causing her to sneeze loudly.

“Equestria to Rainbow, you still there?” Rainbow turned to glare at the unicorn. “Sorry about that, but you zoned out there for a bit and were grumbling to yourself. If it counts for anything, I called out your name a good few times.” Twilight smiled sheepishly, pawing at the ground.

“It’s fine, you just took me by surprise is all.”

“So...” Twilight started as they continued their slow pace to the library. “What were you grumbling about anyways? You seemed pretty upset about something.”

“Oh that? Umm, nothing really important I suppose.”

“Are you sure?” Twilight asked with a touch of concern in her voice. “You were pretty agitated and focused on whatever it was, are you sure you don’t want to talk about it? You know you can talk to me about anything, don’t you?”

Rainbow sighed, “It’s stupid, you’ll just think I’m being silly or something. Really, it’s nothing.”

“Rainbow, you know me better than that. I won’t think you’re stupid if it’s really bothering you.”

As the library door approached, Rainbow furrowed her brow, licking her lips as she forced the words out. “Well... I dunno, I was just thinking about what we were talking about this morning, and it still bugs me that Daring is with Silver.”

Twilight moved to unlock the library door, rolling her eyes. “This again? Rainbow, I don’t understand why you’re so fixated on this whole Daring and Rosetta thing. I get that you like the idea of them being romantically involved, but like I said before, there isn’t anything at all in the entire series that suggests that they’re even interested in each other.”

“So much for not thinking this is silly,” Rainbow deadpanned, fluttering her battery wings in frustration.

“I’m sorry Rainbow, I don’t mean to be condescending or anything, I just can’t understand why you’re so insistent on this,” Twilight turned back to address Rainbow, a pleading look on her face. “Daring clearly loves Silver, not Rosetta. I’m sorry Rainbow, but that’s just how it is, and before you say it,” she raised her hoof as if to interrupt the pegasus, “just because they got milkshakes at the beginning of the book does not mean that they’re romantically inclined towards one another.”

“Oh come on!” Dash exasperated, chewing over her thoughts for a way to convince Twilight. “But what about that whole ‘opposites attract’ thing?! Even you have to admit it’s Romance 101! The nerdy, closed off, university professor with the adventurous, totally radical Daring Do? It’s classic romance stuff! How can you not see that? It makes total sense!”

“‘Opposites attract’ is no way to justify a meaningful romantic relationship, Rainbow Dash. It’s shallow to assume that as solid grounds for a relationship. So much else matters, and it’s an overused petty excuse anyways,” Twilight countered calmly. “Besides, just because it’s classic romance in fiction doesn’t mean it’s realistic at all!”

“Whaddya mean it’s not realistic? You live in a library, Twilight, and I’m sure you’ve seen how many books use that kinda shlop! You even admitted earlier that there wasn’t anything wrong with their dynamic!”

“Again, in stories, not in real life.” Twilight sighed and rubbed her head with her hooves, fighting down a migraine. “Look, even if they can theoretically work well as a couple, that doesn’t mean anything. Daring Do may have stretched reality a lot, but at least they were pretty accurate in this regard. I mean, it’s way more likely for a pony like Daring to fall for somepony like Silver, especially with how they structured it in the series.”

“Think of it this way, have you ever read Sleeping Beauty? Snow White? They’re both considered classic stories, but it doesn’t make them realistic!” Twilight continued, fighting to keep the annoyed edge out of her voice.

“But what about-”

“Listen, Rainbow.” Twilight interrupted, raising her hoof to her friend’s lips. “I’m sorry, but unless you can give me some real life examples of that kind of romance situation working out, then I don’t buy it. The kind of romance you’re suggesting is overdone, unrealistic, and does not apply to Daring Do just because you want it to.”

“But-” Rainbow stammered. “Daring has to be meant for Rosetta...” She whispered, her gaze returning to the ground, unable and unwilling to meet Twilight’s eyes. “She just has to be... Why can’t you see it?”

“Rainbow,” Twilight stepped forward, placing a hoof on Rainbow’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, but I really don’t understand why you can’t accept this, or why Daring has to be with Rosetta. Really, their relationship is just one of platonic friendship, almost exactly like ours. Why is this so important to you?”

“Because... well, because...” Rainbow paused as she tried to come up with a reason. She scoured her brain, asking herself why this was so important to her anyways. She bit her lip and let out a frustrated groan. Why was this so important to her anyways? She could not come up with an answer, too frustrated, too tired, and mind too muddled to think clearly. Twilight jumping on her certainly was not helping.

“Look, Rainbow, I’m tired, and I can tell you’re not going to let this go and I frankly don’t have the energy to deal with it right now,” she sighed again, turning away from the disheveled pegasus. “Thank you for walking me home Rainbow, really, it was very sweet of you. But I just need to have a bath and sleep right now, and I think you had best do the same. I’ll see you later, okay?”

Rainbow grunted something to the ground, lifting her gaze to see Twilight opening the door to her home and walking inside. “Fine, but this isn’t over Twilight! Rainbow Dash never gives up! One way or another I’m gonna convince you that Daring belongs with Rosetta and that it’s not just for fiction!” Rainbow emphasized the last point by spreading her wings and jumping into the air for a grand exit. The batter still stuck in her feathers, though, would have none of that and the pegasus fell back onto her haunches on the unforgiving ground.

Twilight grimaced. She watched her friend try to take off a few more times, each ending the same with her falling back to the ground. Twilight could not in good conscience leave her friend out here, no matter how annoyed she was with her. She sighed. Sometimes friendship could be a pain. “Rainbow? Would you like to stay the night?”

“Huh? Wuzzat?” Rainbow asked, picking herself up from her latest attempt at flying.

Twilight cleared her throat, speaking up, “I said, would you like to stay the night? Your wings are in no condition for flying, and it’s already getting late. You can use my shower to clean up, and by the time we’re both clean it’ll be dark, so you may as well sleep here.”

“Umm...” Rainbow muttered, kicking at the dirt with a hoof. “You sure? I mean, not that I have a problem with it, it’s just that...” She trailed off, looking at Twilight expectantly.

Twilight nodded resolutely, opening the door with a flick of her horn, “Yes, Rainbow, I’m sure. I don’t mind.”

Rainbow smiled gratefully, “Thanks Twi’, I really appreciate it.”

“It’s no problem at all, but on one condition,” Twilight raised a hoof, halting the pegasus mid-stride. She smiled tiredly at her. “No talking about Daring Do or Rosetta or Silver or any of that stuff, please? I’m too exhausted to even think about it.”

Rainbow smiled sheepishly, raising her hoof to meet Twilight’s in a hoofshake, “Deal. No Daring Do, I promise.”

“Good, now let’s get cleaned up. I’ll take the first shower so I can get the sleeping arrangements set up while you shower,” Twilight explained, leading Rainbow into the library.

“Isn’t that normally Spike’s job? Speaking of the little guy, where’d he run off to?” Rainbow inquired, searching for any sign of the baby dragon.

“Celebratory Cutie Mark Crusader sleepover for a successful cupcake mission, or at least that’s what he told me.” They cantered in through the library, both still a little terse with the other over Daring Do, but doing their best to act normally. “Erm, why don’t you make yourself comfortable while I go clean up?”

“Uh, sure, no problem,” Rainbow trotted over to the fireplace, settling down on a worn-looking cushion to avoid messing up Twilight’s cleaner pillows while Twilight went up to the bathroom for a long shower.

After what seemed like forever to the speedster pegasus, Twilight descended the stairs and Rainbow dashed up the stairs for her long awaited shower. By the time both had finished and were no longer covered in cupcake batter and flour, the moon was high in the sky, the sun long since set. Twilight had spent the better part of the last hour searching for the spare bed she used the last time she hosted a sleepover only to remember she had to throw out the mattress after the storm.

The two stood awkwardly in front of Twilight’s bed, both waiting for the other to say something. Rainbow was the first to break the silence, “Umm, I can always just sleep downstairs on the sofa or something Twi’. I don’t want to make this any more awkward for you.”

“No no no Rainbow, it’s fine, really. I don’t mind sharing my bed,” Twilight coughed. “Besides, what are friends for... right?”

“Right,” Rainbow squeaked, her wings fluttering by her sides and her stomach doing backflips. She furrowed her brow, confused by her own nervousness. Twilight was just a friend, and friends share beds and sleep next to each other all the time, so why was she acting so uncool right now?

Without speaking to the other, Twilight and Rainbow crawled under the covers. Twilight’s bed, not meant for two ponies, was a small fit for the two of them. Legs brushed against each other, a wing would bump the side of the unicorn, and their tails would entwine as they made themselves comfortable.

“Goodnight Rainbow.”

“Y-yeah,” Rainbow stammered, “g’night Twi’.”

Author's Note:

And here's part two!

Expect the third chapter to be uploaded sometime today/tomorrow. Considering the contest deadline is this Saturday, the chapters will be uploaded fairly frequently (i.e. one a day most likely).

Questions/comments as usual are appreciated!