• 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.

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Chapter 3

Rainbow rolled over onto her side for what felt like the hundredth time that night, trying to find a comfortable position to fall asleep. It seemed that no matter what she did, sleep was determined to elude her.

To hay with this, Rainbow thought to herself, gritting her teeth. “There’s no way I’m gonna let sleep get the better of me. If I can perform a sonic rainboom, then willing myself asleep should be a piece of cake!” She whispered to the bedroom, envious of the unicorn who had so quickly fallen asleep next to her.

A minute passed, and yet sleep still eluded her. Twilight’s soft snores filled the room, frustrating the pegasus even more. It seemed so unfair to her that Twilight could peacefully slumber while Rainbow struggled for even the slightest wink of sleep. Rainbow forced her eyes shut and focused all of her willpower in falling asleep. Her wings began to twitch in agitation before she clamped them back to her sides. She shuffled around in her bed and tried some of that meditation stuff Fluttershy and Rarity kept on yammering about, forcing herself to relax.

Meditation was boring. Fed up, Rainbow quietly shimmied out from underneath the covers, determined to find a means to aid her in her quest for sleep. A glass of warm milk snatched from Twilight’s kitchen later, Rainbow floated back to bed, confident that sleep would be achieved.

Sleep seemed just as determined to avoid her as Rainbow was to obtain it. Rainbow rolled onto her back and put her pillow over her face, letting out a long, frustrated groan. Clamping a hoof over her mouth, she glanced over at Twilight, hoping she did not wake the sleeping mare. Luckily for her, Twilight was still blissfully asleep, oblivious to Rainbow’s torment.

Physically drained, her hooves flopped down to the bed on either side of her, splayed out on her bed. Her talk with Twilight played itself through in her mind for the upteenth time that night, and no matter what she did, her mind would wander back to that conversation over and over again.

“Stupid Twilight,” she mumbled into her pillow. Turning her head, she watched the offending unicorn sleep peacefully next to her. “Get out of my head. Let me get some sleep; I don’t even care anymore.” Even though she said it, Rainbow knew that wasn’t true. Maybe it was because she just couldn’t let it go.

Rainbow sighed, dragging the pillow off of her face and hugging it in her hooves as she watched Twilight’s chest softly rise and fall with her breathing. Twilight mumbled something involving Rainbow, before rolling over and smiling adorably at Rainbow in her sleep. Rainbow’s own mind was a muddle. Things that Twilight had said were bouncing around in a cacophony of chaos that prevented her from falling into the sweet oblivion of sleep.

Amidst the mayhem, a few bits pushed their way to the forefront of Rainbow’s mind, repeating on an endless loop for the daredevil’s torture. She sighed again, there was no point in doing anything. Her body was too tired to move, yet her brain refused to stay silent. The only option left was to wait it out. Rainbow accepted the grim reality that either she would lie here until morning or eventually she would pass out.

”The kind of romance you’re suggesting is overdone, unrealistic, and does not apply to Daring Do just because you want it to.”

Rainbow’s eyelids began to grow heavy. The moonlight shone softly on her friend through the bedroom window, illuminating Twilight’s features in the dark night.

“But, there's still the complete lack of anything beyond friendship exhibited in their actions, Rainbow.”

Rainbow yawned widely, finally beginning to drift off to sleep as Twilight’s voice ran through her head. She looked so peaceful when she was sleeping, it was hard to believe that she was arguing with the same pony just a few hours ago.

“Just because somepony gets a milkshake with somepony else doesn't mean that they're romantically involved, Rainbow Dash.”

Rainbow huffed tiredly, the claws of sleep pulling her under. Why did Twilight have to be so stubborn? She shuffled a little closer to Twilight, almost muzzle-to-muzzle with the unicorn, barely conscious of her actions.

“How many times have we gotten milkshakes on reading days?”

For whatever reason, Rainbow felt her heart speed up a bit as this thought pressed its way forward and she hazily recalled all of the times she went for milkshakes with Twilight. Quite a few of them involved them sharing one. She had to admit, Twilight was actually quite pretty.

“Really, their relationship is just one of platonic friendship, almost exactly like ours. Why is this so important to you?”

Her head buzzed and her cheeks felt warm, and the last thought Rainbow had before finally succumbing to the sleep she craved was Why do I care so much, anyways? With that, Rainbow’s mind finally went silent and her soft snores could be heard echoing throughout the room.

Thunder rumbled overhead as the intrepid hero and adventurer Rainbow Daring Dash prowled through the jungle underbrush, searching for the lair of her adversary Dr. Negative. He had somehow survived his own brainwashed ponies turning on him, going into hiding for the last three years.

That is, until now. A month ago, while she was on a dig in Saddle Arabia, Dr. Negative had resurfaced, laying siege to the university where she worked. By the time she was able to return, she found her office in shambles and repair crews scattered about. Dr. Negative had stolen various different artefacts and treasures that could be sold for millions on the black market. Rainbow Daring Dash wasn’t about to be stopped there though. Through her impeccable knowledge and experience in tracking crazed villains, she had managed to pinpoint Negative’s current hideaway deep in the jungles south of Equestria.

Though, it was not because of the trinkets that Rainbow Daring Dash was crawling through the muck of the jungles. It was not even because Dr. Negative had the audacity to attack her home, though that did hurt her pride. No, Dr. Negative had taken something much more precious to her and had squirreled her away deep in the heart of this Celestia-forsaken jungle. She slashed a piece of the underbrush away with her machete, sweat, slime, and mud covering her from head to hoof. The thought of her imprisoned by the mad scientist was all the motivation she needed to push onwards.

With another swipe of her machete, the jungle underbrush gave way to reveal a waterfall cascading down a rocky outcrop high above. Even in the pouring rain, she could see the outline of a cave behind the waterfall. Stabbing the machete in a nearby tree, Rainbow Daring Dash adjusted her trusty hat, determination shining in her eyes in the night.

Hang on Rosetta, I’m coming for you...

With a flap of her wings, she took to the sky, silently flying towards the mouth of Dr. Negative’s nefarious lair. Angling downwards in her descent, Rainbow tucked her wings into her sides as she flew through the waterfall with a splash, landing in a run inside the cave. She was greeted by a long, winding dark tunnel of stone that led deeper into the cliff where Dr. Negative was no doubt holding Rosetta captive.

Her hooves clacked against the cave floor as she made her way deeper into the confines of the lair. Her senses on high alert, Rainbow Daring Dash continued her hunt for Dr. Negative and Rosetta as quickly and as silently as possible, nothing more than a cyan blur darting through the shadows.

Sure enough, she found the heart of the cave. From a rocky outcrop concealed by the hanging stalactites, she peeked over to see Dr. Negative himself pacing around a lab bench where Rosetta was being restrained.

“It’s only a matter of time, little Rosetta, before Daring finds us here,” he cackled as he paced. “And when she does...” He stopped, looming over Rosetta and obscuring Daring’s view of her. “It’ll be the end of her adventuring days. But first I’m going to make her watch as I kill you slowly. You’re going to scream and she’ll be helpless to do anything. The last thing you’ll see will be her screaming out to you, and the last thing she’ll see will be the light leaving your lifeless body!”

Daring tensed up above, shaking with barely controlled fury. How dare he threaten Rosetta like that...

“Y-you’ll have to do better than this, Dr. Negative,” Rosetta spat back, struggling against her restraints and her violet eyes twinkling with resilience. “Rainbow Daring Dash is without a doubt the smartest pony I have ever met, and she’s told me all about you. You don’t stand a chance.” Daring could practically hear the smile form on her face. “She’s undeniably, unquestionably, unstoppable.”

Despite the situation, Daring smiled at her resilience and felt herself blush at the compliment. No, this wasn’t the time for that, she needed to get Rosetta out of here. She began looking around the cavern for anything that she could use. She spotted a loosely hanging stalactite above Dr. Negative’s work station, where several vials and beakers filled with strange concoctions were resting. She smiled as an idea took root.

“Well, we’ll just have to see about that... won’t we Daring?!” Dr. Negative shouted, turning on the spot to face the intrepid hero up above.

Her cover blown, Rainbow Daring Dash jumped up to the ledge, standing proudly above her foe. “Let her go, Negative! I’m the one you want; she has nothing to do with this!”

Dr. Negative laughed, cupping Rosetta’s face with his hoof, “Oh, but she has everything to do with this! You ruined my life’s work, Daring, and now I’m going to make you pay by taking away the one thing you care about the most!”

Daring’s face contorted in pure anger as Dr. Negative raised a needle filled with a bright green liquid. “Do you know what this is? This is the world’s most deadly poison! It kills in the most painful and horrible way possible once it enters the bloodstream. And once Rosetta here gets a needle-full of it, you can only watch as her insides burn and listen to her screams until she finally dies! But it’s so much better than just that! First, it will target her brain, making her lose control of her body. Her bowels will go first, writhing and boiling. Then, her lungs. Her breathing will become frantic and ragged as her lungs fill with fluid. Oh, but don’t worry, she won’t drown. No, the last thing to go will be her heart. And once she’s dead, you’ll be next!”

He lowered the needle to Rosetta’s exposed leg, ready to inject her. “No!” Daring pleaded. “Please! Don’t hurt her! Do whatever you want to me, just leave her alone!”

Without turning to face his quarry, Dr. Negative’s insane laughter reverberated around the cavern. “Oh, I’m positively going to enjoy every second of this!” He continued to bring the needle lower and lower to Rosetta’s leg, the unicorn trying to squirm away as she called out to Daring for help. Tears welled in both their eyes until Daring snapped. Unleashing a battle-cry, she charged at the loose stalactite, delivering a powerful kick with her hind legs.

“What?!” Dr. Negative stopped, looking upwards at the pegasus just in time to see the large piece of rock plummet and crash onto his desk, completely destroying all of his work. “Nooooo!” He howled, throwing the needle of poison off to the side against the cavern floor as he ran over to his ruined work. All of his plans, all of his brainwashing serum and notes were gone. The needle shattered, its contents harmlessly seeping into the ground.

While the Doctor was preoccupied, Daring flew over to Rosetta and set to releasing her restraints. “C’mon, let’s get you outta here.” She whispered to her long-time friend and companion.

“Rainbow...” Rosetta choked out, tears beginning to flow. “You came... to save me...”

“Of course I did! Like I’d ever leave you hangin’!” Daring paused to quickly hug Rosetta, Dr. Negative still pouring over his ruined work, hopelessly trying to save what little he could. “Now help me out here! We can talk later, okay?”

Removing the last restraint, Rosetta jumped to her hooves and snapped the magic inhibitor ring off of her horn. Dr. Negative wheeled around, snarling at the pair. “No! I shall not allow you to escape! If it’s the last thing I do, I will have my revenge!”

Daring stepped in front of Rosetta, shielding her from Dr. Negative’s wrath. He made to lunge forward, but fell prone as the ground beneath him began to rumble and quake. The entire cavern began to shake as the area around where the stalactite fell began to crack. Dislodging the stalactite must have done more damage to the structural integrity of the cave than Daring estimated it would.

All three ponies in the room froze in horror as the ground beneath them gave way. “Nooooo!” Dr. Negative howled, falling into the abyss. “Daring! I shall have my revenge!”

As the mad scientist fell to his demise, Daring forced herself to look away as she scooped Rosetta up in her hooves and took flight. Dr. Negative’s last promises of revenge and curses at Daring followed them as Daring flew the two through the winding tunnel and back to the surface. Daring sped up the closer they got to the mouth of the cave, pushing Dr. Negative’s screams to the recesses of her mind, and she and Rosetta emerged out of the waterfall in a spray of colour and water.

The storm was ending; thunder and lightning long since past as the last remnants of the rain spattered on the terrain. Daring alighted on the clifftop, gingerly letting Rosetta down. In an instant, Rosetta was back at her side, checking for injuries.

“Rainbow, are you alright? You aren’t hurt, are you?”

Pushing the frantic unicorn away, Daring grabbed her by the shoulders, “I’m fine Rosey! You’re the one I’m worried about!” Daring began looking Rosetta over herself. “Did he hurt you? Oh my gosh, Rosey, I was so worried about you!”

Before she could go any further, Rosetta lunged forward and enveloped Daring in a bone-crushing hug. Daring could feel her cheeks warm as she slowly returned the hug, nuzzling her friend’s mane as Rosetta cried into Daring’s shoulder. Sobs wracked her body as Daring rubbed her back on slow circles, comforting the traumatized unicorn.

“I-I’m sorry I got you s-so worried, Rainbow,” Rosetta sniffled.

“Shh,” Daring cooed, “it’s okay, it’s all over now, Rosey,” she broke away from the hug to lift her friend’s head and stare deeply into her lavender eyes, “I’m so, so sorry I got you involved in all of this in the first place.”

Rosetta hiccuped, smiling weakly at her savior and nuzzling into her hoof. “I... I was so scared... I didn’t think I was ever going to see you again...”

“Hey, it’s okay. There’s no way I’d ever let my favourite egghead down. And there’s definitely no way that I’d ever let anything happen to you. Not as long as I can do something to stop it.”

Rosetta smiled warmly at Daring, and Daring smiled back. The cloud cover broke overhead, just as the first fingers of dawn stretched out over the landscape, bringing light to the desolate and gray jungle. The light of the sun warmed Daring’s cold and damp coat, and shone brightly over Rosetta’s lavender coat.

Wait, was Rosetta’s coat always purple?

Her deep purple mane billowed around her neck in the morning breeze, pink highlights positively shimmering in the morning light. Rainbow Daring Dash and Rosetta Sparkle slowly leaned in closer together, closing the gap between the two until only a mere few inches separated the muzzles.

Then, in a passionate fury, Daring closed the gap entirely, meeting Rosetta’s lips in-

Rainbow Dash woke with start, her heart hammering in her chest as she wildly looked around for Rosetta, the clifftop, and her hat. Remembering where she was, Rainbow began to calm herself down, eyes settling on the mare still quietly sleeping next to her.

“Just a dream... It was just a dream...” Rainbow told herself, placing her hoof over her heart. She took several deep breaths until her heart rate returned to normal. Her eyes began tracing Twilight’s sleeping form, fondly watching the unicorn sleep. A smile tugged at the corners of her lips.

The dream played itself through in her mind’s eye, and Rainbow found herself willing the heat in her cheeks to die down as she watched Twilight sleep. She shook her head, dispelling the thoughts, “...A very weird dream.”

She tore her gaze away from the sleeping mare and instead focused on a lamp sitting on Twilight’s writing desk. She hummed quietly to herself as she thought over her dream. Dreaming herself as Daring Do was not that uncommon to Rainbow. She would never admit it, but the prospect of being the adventurous, quick-witted, and all around awesome mare was very appealing to her.

Rosetta, however, had never been in her dreams before. Rainbow certainly never dreamt of kissing her. She also knew for a fact that Rosetta’s coat was not lavender, nor did her mane have any pink highlights in it.

“So why did...” Rainbow glanced sideways at Twilight. “Oh.”

The dots connected in her head. If Daring was Rainbow, then Rosetta was Twilight, and Rainbow had dreamt of saving Twilight from a mad villain and... kissed her. Rainbow blushed at the realization.

Her thoughts were interrupted as Twilight stirred, yawning and blinking blearily at Rainbow. “Mmm... morning Rainbow, did you sleep well?”

Rainbow smiled a bit too widely at the unicorn, “Yeah. Totally. I slept like a log.” She awkwardly shuffled out of the bed, unable to take her eyes off of Twilight. Her leg caught in the blanket, sending her sprawling onto the hardwood floor.

Twilight’s head peered over the edge of the bed, looking at the mess that was Rainbow quizzically, “Rainbow? Are you feeling okay?”

Picking herself up quickly, Rainbow rigidly shuffled over towards the bedroom window. “Of course I am! One-hundred percent over here! I just, err, have a lot of weather work to do today! I’ll catch ya later Twi’!”

Before Twilight could respond, Rainbow had already thrown open the window and had taken off to the skies, leaving a rainbow trail and a very confused unicorn in her wake. Waving a hoof absent-mindedly, Twilight muttered to the empty room, “Yeah... see you later, Rainbow.”

Twilight set to work cleaning up and making the bed. As she finished, she poked her head out the window in the direction Rainbow flew off in, bewilderment still etched on her face, “I wonder what got her feathers so ruffled?”

Rainbow stared blankly at the clock, watching as the seconds ticked by from her kitchen table. It had been almost a week since she slept over at Twilight’s house, and still that dream was all she could think about. It was pretty uncool to up and go like she did the morning after, and avoiding Twilight altogether for almost a week probably was not helping any, but she needed time alone to think.

It wasn’t something she normally did, but Rainbow would be damned if she would let this beat her. There was no way a silly little dream was going to keep her from hanging out with one of her best friends... right?

At first Rainbow had shrugged it off as just that, a dream. A random occurrence and nothing more. But then the next night she had another dream much like the first one. She, Rainbow Daring Dash, had saved Rosetta Sparkle from the villainous plots of another evil mastermind. Then another, and another, then one where she was rescued by Twilight/Rosetta, and finally, last night, one where there were no outfits, no personas, but just her and Twilight.

And every dream had ended the same as the first. Just as she was about to kiss Twilight, Rainbow would wake and search the room desperately for any sign of the purple unicorn, only to remember it was only a dream. It was strange, every time she came to realization there was a pang of disappointment that she could never quite understand.

It had gotten to the point where Rainbow could not picture her friend without heat rushing to her cheeks and her heart beating a mile a minute. She began to question if it was only a dream.

Rainbow sighed, letting her head fall to the cloud surface of her kitchen table. Her head landed with a small oomph. “Why is this happening to me?” she asked herself, voice muffled by the cloud. “It’s not like anything has changed, so why can’t I just sleep in peace?”

She bet Twilight would know exactly why. A small smile crept up Rainbow’s lips, she could almost hear Twilight explain that it was just some connection her mind was making between Daring and Rosetta with herself and Rainbow. After all, they were very similar in terms of personality, and Rainbow had been thinking about Daring and Rosetta dating, so it was only natural.

Rainbow groaned, lifting her head from the pillowy table to rub her head with her hooves. There she was again. It mattered not what she was doing, somehow the bookish mare would worm her way into Rainbow’s thoughts. A glance at her calendar (purchased on the insistence of Twilight) made Rainbow groan again.

“Great... it’s reading day...” Rainbow mumbled into her cup of coffee, staring at her reflection in the brown liquid. She sighed. “I can’t avoid Twilight for much longer. She’ll get worried if I skip out on our weekly reading date-” Rainbow froze, her entire body going rigid. “Reading day. Ugh, what’s wrong with me?”

She returned to watching the clock tick away. Nine-thirty. Rainbow was supposed to meet Twilight at her house in an hour. She groaned again, she was going to have to figure this out quickly.

Her mind wandered to her conversation earlier with Twilight about Daring Do and Rosetta. Rainbow frowned. It was clear to her that this was where all of her problems started, but she could not figure out why. Twilight’s voice filled her mind, though this had become a common occurrence to Rainbow over the last few days.

“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?”

Rainbow sat up, her ears perked. When she thought about it, that was where everything had started for her, though she could not answer it.

“Why is this so important to me anyways?” Rainbow asked herself. “It’s just a stupid story! Why should I care if Daring ends up with stupid Silver! It’s not like I’m the one ending up with...” She trailed off, unable to finish the sentence. Despite what she said, she did care; she cared a lot.

Rainbow huffed and started pacing around her kitchen; this was easily the most use it ever had. She was on the verge of something, some realization that would make everything make sense. It was on the tip of her tongue, but she just couldn’t reach it.

“Stupid Daring Do...” Rainbow grumbled, her pacing becoming more and more hectic. “Stupid Silver!” She stopped pacing, glowering at her copy of Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone, a gift from Twilight. “Stupid Rosetta!”

Her voice growing, she batted the book to the side. She reached her breaking point, fed up with not understanding what was happening, and slamming her hooves into the table, she shouted, “Stupid sexy Twilight!”

Rainbow’s eyes went wide and she put a hoof to her mouth as if to take what she just said back and seal it away. “Where... where did that come from?”

Her mind drifted back to all of the dreams that she had since that first night. She saw herself dressed as Daring Do, rescue Rosetta/Twilight from the clutches of some crazed villain and carry her out into the sunset. She saw herself embracing Rosetta/Twilight once they were safe, letting out tears of relief. She saw herself leaning in to kiss Rosetta/Twilight, but most importantly she saw how happy she was with her. Rainbow could feel herself smile at the memory, even if it was only a dream.

“Do I... do I have feelings for Twilight?” She paused, staring blankly at the calendar where she had clearly marked reading days with Twilight in bright red ink. There was always a slight tingle of anticipation that Rainbow rarely felt save for when she was flying when reading day came. She had always thought that was because of the books, but now... “No! No way, I can’t feel... that way towards Twilight. Besides, I don’t do dating. The romantic mushy stuff is for ponies like Fluttershy and Rarity...”

“Nah, you definitely got cute under wraps.”

Her own words bounced around in her head, her own mind trying to prove her wrong. Her thoughts drifted back to all of the times that she and Twilight had curled up together in front of the fireplace with a good book, and of how happy she had been. She remembered sharing a milkshake with Twilight after finishing a book, and how close their muzzles had been. Rainbow blushed hard as she recalled the walk home from Sugarcube Corner and how close they had been walking. She could almost feel the warmth from Twilight’s coat pressing up against hers and her breath against the nape of her neck, making Rainbow shiver.

Rainbow glanced around the room, making sure that nopony had somehow materialized without her knowing. “Okay, so maaaybe I have a crush on Twilight.” Rainbow admitted to the empty kitchen. “Now what? I can’t just go down and ask Twilight out... or can I?”

Rainbow began to pace around the table again, gaze downcast. “I don’t even know if Twilight feels the same way. Asking her out could totally ruin our friendship!”

Yet, despite her worries, even thinking about not trying sent a painful pang through Rainbow’s core. No matter what she told herself, her heart yearned for more. Her mind wandered back to that night at Twilight’s house. She may have been exhausted, but she could clearly remember watching Twilight sleep and waking up next to her.

Rainbow smiled as she pictured waking up next to Twilight every morning. She would like that. A lot. The only question left, though, was it worth the risk?

Rainbow imagined reading with Twilight, getting milkshakes with Twilight, and just being with Twilight, except as more than friends. She tried to imagine Twilight as her special somepony, filling a hole in her heart that she did not know was there.

“Oh yeah,” Rainbow smiled. “Totally worth it. Besides, even if she says no things will only be awkward for a little while and then it’ll get back to normal... right?” Rainbow tried to convince herself. She breathed deeply, stepping towards her kitchen window. “Twilight’s not the type of pony to ditch her friends just because things get weird.”

Taking to the sky, Rainbow repeatedly told herself, “Everything’s gonna be fine, everything’s gonna be fine...”