• Published 11th Jul 2013
  • 7,054 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.

  • ...
21
 115
 7,054

Chapter 4

Twilight stood in the middle of the library, going over her regular checklist for her and Rainbow’s weekly reading day. “Drinks, check! Cushions, check! Snackfood, check!” Twilight chimed, merrily ticking off the items on her list. It always brought her a sense of satisfaction unparalleled to hear the sound of her quill scratching against the parchment.

“Let’s see... Spike’s out playing with the ‘Cutie Mark Crusaders’, check. Book of the day, check! What am I missing?” Twilight pondered, tapping the quill against her chin as she double and triple checked the list. Satisfied everything was prepared for the day, Twilight smiled as she rolled up the parchment, returning it and her quill to her work desk. Her smile turned to a frown as she surveyed the room. “All that’s missing... is Rainbow...”

Twilight sighed, she had not seen head nor tail of her rainbow-maned friend for almost an entire week. The last she saw of her was the morning after she slept over, and even that was only for a few minutes before she flew out like she was being chased by a swarm of hungry parasprites.

Twilight could not help but wonder if it was something she had said or done to make Rainbow want to avoid her. The only thing that came to mind was their disagreement on Daring Do. Twilight slumped over her cushion, prodding the latest copy of Daring Do with her hoof. She would hate for something so trivial to put a wedge in her relationship with Rainbow.

A knock at the door shook her from her thoughts. “Come in! The door’s open!”

The door creaked open, revealing a slightly flushed and somewhat nervous-looking Rainbow Dash. “Hey Twi’, sorry I’m a bit late.”

“Rainbow!” Twilight cried, leaping to her hooves to give Rainbow a quick hug. “I was starting to think you weren’t going to show up.”

Squirming out of the hug, Rainbow patted her windswept mane down with a hoof. “Me? Nah, c’mon Twi’, you know I’d never ditch ya, especially not on reading day.”

“That’s good to hear,” Twilight said, leading Rainbow into the central room of the library where their usual setup awaited. “I was just getting a little concerned since I haven’t seen you since last week when you slept over.” Twilight blushed sheepishly. “I know it’s dumb, but I thought you were purposely trying to avoid me.”

Rainbow laughed awkwardly, her movements suddenly stiff. “Me? Avoid you? Never! Why would I do that?”

Twilight shrugged ahead of her. “I don’t know, maybe something to do with our, umm, talk about Daring Do last week? I didn’t mean to make you upset about it Rainbow, really. I’m sorry if I was short with you, I was just exhausted and grumpy from earlier.”

“Oh, that? Don’t even worry about it Twi’.”

Now this is strange, Twilight thought to herself at the brevity of Rainbow’s response. Normally, the brash pegasus would try and justify her own beliefs even at a time like this. Twilight was expecting her to make some statement to explain why Daring belonged with Rosetta. Instead, Twilight noticed she was acting very jittery and while Rainbow tried to exude her trademark confidence, something about it seemed off.

Twilight studied the pegasus who was now shuffling her hooves, avoiding all eye contact with Twilight. “Rainbow? Are you feeling okay?”

Rainbow snapped to attention, sitting rigidly on her haunches, “Me? Okay? Of course I am! Err, why do you ask?”

“Well it’s just,” Twilight paused, watching as the pegasus shifted around uncomfortably. “Rainbow? You’re acting a little... twitchy.”

Rainbow looked up at Twilight, a grimace of panic flashed across her features before she sighed, her entire body relaxing. “Yeah... I guess there isn’t really hiding anything from you, is there?” A smile tugged at the corner of her lips. “You know me too well, and I guess there’s no easy way to say this...”

“Rainbow?” Twilight stepped forwards, placing her hoof on her friend’s shoulder. “What is it? You know you can tell me anything, right?”

Rainbow smiled gratefully, placing her own hoof over Twilight’s, “I know, and thanks. It really means a lot to have somepony like you lookin’ out for me.” Rainbow breathed deeply, steadying herself for whatever she needed to say, and Twilight was prepared to support her friend in any way she could. “Look, Twilight... the thing is... ugh! Why is this so hard?!”

“Why is what so hard Rainbow? What’s wrong?” Twilight asked, concern colouring her voice as Rainbow pulled away from Twilight. She stared at the floorboards as she paced around the room.

“Alright,” Rainbow huffed, turning to face Twilight with a gleam of determination in her eyes that was not there before. “I can’t think of any other way to say this, so I’m just gonna say it.”

“Rainbow?”

“Just... just promise me that you won’t freak out.”

“What are you-”

“Please, just promise me Twi’.” Rainbow pleaded, determination slowly fading from her eyes as her nervousness began to set in and threatened to take control.

Twilight stared uncomprehendingly at Rainbow. She had never seen her act like this before. The pegasus’ air of confidence and regular bravado that Twilight had come to adore were all but gone, replaced with a nervous energy. “...Okay, I promise Rainbow.”

It seemed to do little to ease Rainbow as her wings continued to twitch at her side. “Alright, here it goes...” Rainbow cleared her throat, standing her tallest in front of her friend. “Twilight Sparkle, will you go on a date with me?”

A minute passed and an uncomfortable silence fell on the library. Twilight stared dumbstruck at Rainbow. Did Rainbow just... No, I must have misheard.

“I’m sorry, could you repeat that?” Twilight smiled a bit too widely. “I’m not sure I heard that correctly.”

Rainbow gulped, her confidence failing her. “I asked... if you would, y’know, want to maybe go out sometime... with me... like a date?” Rainbow squeaked out, gritting her teeth at how uncool she sounded.

“...A date?”

Rainbow nodded resolutely. She had come too far to back down now. She had just put her heart on the line, and now it was up to Twilight to make the next move.

“As in... you,” Twilight pointed a hoof at Rainbow, “and me?” Twilight placed her hoof over her chest.

Rainbow nodded again, willing herself to stay focused on Twilight. She gulped again after another moment of silence had passed. She fought the urge to turn tail and fly out the door back to her cloud house. It crossed her mind that it was not too late to play this off as a kind of prank, just for Twilight’s expense to get back at her for the Daring Do argument, but she discarded the idea the moment it took root. This was important to her, and she needed to see it through.

“Like... a date date?” Twilight asked, her mind reeling. “With... flowers, and sharing food, and-”

“Yes! A date. You and me, nopony else, with flowers and sharing food and all those things that happens on dates with couples okay?” Rainbow exasperated, her cheeks flushing as she thought about what a date with Twilight might entail.

Twilight, her hoof still placed over her chest, could feel her heart hammering a mile a minute. Rainbow Dash, her best friend, was asking her of all ponies out on a date. Twilight’s mind raced to catch up as question after question bombarded her. Why her? When did things change? How long has Rainbow felt this way? Is this why she hadn’t seen Rainbow for a week? What should she do now?

This was happening way too fast for Twilight. She needed to stall for time. “Are you serious?!” Twilight blurted out without thinking.

Rainbow flinched like she had just been struck and could already feel the tears welling in her eyes. She looked away from Twilight, she could not and would not let her see her cry.

Twilight huffed, rubbing her forehead with a hoof. She tried again, this time more controlled and composed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for that to come out like that. It’s just that... why? Why me, and why now?”

“Well, why not you? You’re smart, funny, determined, and you’ll do anything to help somepony.” Rainbow asked incredulously, her voice growing in strength with every word. “I know for a fact that I can talk to you about anything, and even when it’s about your magic stuff you make it interesting. We already get along great, and... and, well, why wouldn’t I want to ask you out? It’s not like I’m asking out some total stranger here, and I guess that doesn’t really help much.” Rainbow smiled sheepishly, daring to meet Twilight’s gaze. In Twilight’s eyes she saw confusion, fear, but a small glimmer of hope.

In Rainbow’s eyes, Twilight searched for any sign that this was all some kind of ruse but found none. Instead, she saw honest affection and hope. “Twi’... you’re like my best friend, and I guess... well, I guess that I just wanted to see... if we could, y’know, take things to the next level.” Rainbow flushed, her cheeks burning, and looked away, her courage spent.

“Rainbow, I...” Twilight trailed off, unsure of what to think. “I’m sorry, I just need some time to think.”

It was Rainbow’s turn to sit and watch as Twilight paced about the library, gaze downcast. Twilight’s brow was furrowed, going through everything Rainbow had said, mind travelling back to their interactions, searching for any signs that Rainbow had felt this way towards her. Rainbow looked onwards, nervously awaiting Twilight’s answer. If Twilight was going to turn her down, Rainbow hoped she would get on with it. This waiting was killing her more than the idea of rejection ever could.

Twilight thought back to her last conversation with Rainbow. She remembered how upset Rainbow got when Twilight called the idea of Daring and Rosetta as an item unrealistic, and how determined the pegasus was to prove her wrong.

Twilight stopped her pacing, scrutinizing the pegasus before her. She wouldn’t... “Rainbow, this isn’t just some twisted way for you to prove me wrong about the whole Daring Do and Rosetta thing, is it?” Twilight asked slowly. “Are you just trying to show in some deranged way that that type of romance is possible?”

“What?! No!” Rainbow yelled, panic flashing across her face and hurt seeping into her voice. This was not where she was expecting things to go. “Twi’, I would never toy with another pony’s feelings like that, least of all my best friend’s! That’s just...ugh! I thought you knew me better than that!”

Twilight cringed. The hurt was evident in Rainbow’s voice, and Twilight feared she may have gone too far. She needed to fix this. “I’m sorry Rainbow, I shouldn’t have said that,” Twilight said earnestly, taking a hesitant step towards the pegasus who was caught somewhere between outrage and hope. “But can you really blame me entirely? I mean, the last time we were together it ended with you trying to fly off saying that you were going to prove me wrong.”

Rainbow fell silent, her ears folding back and her wings drooping. “Well... okay, that may have been the start of this, but I’m telling you it isn’t why I’m standing right here, right now, asking you out, I promise. Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.”

“Then why?”

“I already told ya, egghead. I’m here because... well because I think there’s something there, something between us. And I can’t say for sure about you, but I want to give it a shot,” Rainbow took a tentative step forwards, slowly closing the gap Twilight had created between herself and Rainbow. “I want to see if there really is something there, and I want to find out with you.”

Twilight bit her lip and rubbed her leg with a hoof, unsure of what to do next. Rainbow took another step towards Twilight, “Twilight? Please just say something. If you don’t want to, I get it, just tell me already, I don’t think-”

“When?” Twilight interrupted, halting the pegasus’ advance.

“Huh?”

Twilight took a deep breath to steady herself. Looking back up to Rainbow with a scrutinizing gaze, she asked again, “When did you... start to feel this way about me?”

“Oh, that,” Rainbow scratched the back of her head with a hoof. “Well, honestly? I don’t really know when this all started... but I know when I figured it all out. I guess I owe you at least that much for not freaking out on me.” Rainbow chuckled weakly. Clearing her throat, she began. “Remember last week, after we helped Pinkie with her cupcake emergency?”

Twilight nodded slowly, wondering where Rainbow was going to go with this.

“Well, I guess that’s when I started piecing the puzzles together. Even you have to admit, we were walkin’ pretty close together there the way back here, even for friends. I’m not sure if you remember, but we got into this conversation, and I ended up calling you cute.” Twilight’s cheeks flushed at the memory, but she did her best to ignore it as Rainbow continued. “I thought about it, that whole chat, and everything we’ve been doing together lately, and I realized I meant it. That wasn’t just the exhaustion talking.”

She paused, staring into Twilight’s eyes. With a cough, Rainbow averted her gaze, pink dots colouring her cheeks. “Anyways, after that we started to go on about Daring Do again, and when you asked me why I cared so much about it, I couldn’t come up with an answer. I just couldn’t. I thought about it for days, but believe me when I say that I couldn’t accept it, though I didn’t know why. At least, not at the time. That night, when you asked me to sleep over, things started to make sense... kind of.”

“Kind of?”

Rainbow nodded resolutely, her blush growing to leave a bright scarlet stain on her muzzle. “Yeah, well, I was having some troubles sleeping, I guess you could say. I kept on going through what we had talked about over and over. When I finally did drift off, I had this... dream.”

Twilight’s own blush grew in intensity to match Rainbow’s, her ears folding back against her head at the implication, “Oh...”

“What? No! Not anything like that!” Rainbow backpedalled, wings flaring out as she realized the implications of her words. “It was a dream about Daring Do and Dr. Negative! Yeesh Twi’, I know I’m fast, but I’m not that kind of fast! Anyways, the only thing was that I was Daring Do and you were Rosetta. And... well, after I rescued you, we kinda... kissed. Or at least, we almost did, then I woke up.”

“So,” Twilight started, weighing Rainbow’s words. “That’s why you were in such a hurry to leave?”

Rainbow nodded silently. Twilight had to admit, she was relieved that she had not done anything to force Rainbow away that morning. She let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. As she thought about what Rainbow had said, about the dream, Twilight felt a frown tug at the corner of her lips.

“But Rainbow... that was just a dream. It was most likely your subconscious mind connecting things that you were just recently thinking about, it’s only natural. You were so obsessed with Daring Do and Rosetta that of course you would dream about them. On top of that, we were the ones talking about them, so your subconscious linked yourself with Daring and me with Rosetta. Our personalities are similar enough, which made it easier for the connection to be made in the first place.” Twilight sighed, she should have been happy to have found a way out of this, a way to hopefully reverse everything that had just happened. Yet, she found herself disappointed, almost as if she wished what she said was not true. “It doesn’t mean anything Rainbow...”

Rainbow smiled bashfully, her gaze focused on a crack in the floorboards. “Y’know, I actually thought you were gonna say something like that. And you’re wrong, it does mean something.” She followed the crack to Twilight’s hooves. “After that night, I took the rest of the day to think about that dream and what it meant. At first I thought that is was just that, a silly dream, and that I’d move on and everything would be back to normal. But then I had another dream like it, then another, and another. Some were more intimate than others I guess, but my point is that it didn’t just go away.”

Rainbow breathed deeply, willing herself to look up and face the unicorn. “Then, the other night, I had another dream. Except this one was different from the others...”

“Different how?” Twilight whispered, enraptured by the pegasus.

“This time there was no Daring Do, no Rosetta, and no villain. It was just you and me.” Rainbow’s stomach was doing backflips as she explained and every instinct was telling her to run, but she couldn’t stop now. “I know I do a lot of things without thinking, but I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. I could have not showed up or done something stupid, but this was too important to me... you’re too important to me. I care about you Twilight, a lot, and it took me until now to figure that out.”

For several minutes, the two sat in silence as Rainbow waited for Twilight to say something. Twilight’s mind had come full-stop, trying to digest everything Rainbow had said on top of trying to figure out how she felt.

“Y-you know, I think I’ll just go,” Rainbow mumbled dejectedly. “I’m sorry I ruined reading day for you, Twi’. I hope we can still be friends...”

As Rainbow started the slow march out Twilight’s door, head lowered, a small voice caught her ear, “I... I care about you too, Rainbow.” Rainbow turned back to look over her shoulder at the mare, a glimmer of hope in her eyes.

“What?” Rainbow asked, not believing her ears despite the smile growing on her face.

“I care about you too. A lot,” Twilight said again, her voice growing in strength, though confusion and pleading shone in her eyes. “It’s just... this is a lot to take in. I need some time to think, please.”

“Sure, yeah I get it,” Rainbow nodded enthusiastically. It may not have been a ‘yes’, but it definitely wasn’t a no. “Umm, hey, you know that carnival that’s in town?”

Twilight nodded dumbly, gears slowly turning in her head.

“How about this, I’m gonna wait down by the carnival gates tomorrow around noon-ish,” Rainbow gulped. “I’ll be waiting for you there, and if you don’t show...”

“Rainbow, I-”

“No, it’s okay,” Rainbow smiled sadly at Twilight, her face a mixture of hope, understanding, and worry. “If you don’t show, I’ll understand. It’s a big change, and I did kinda just drop it on you without warning. Like I said, I don’t know if this’ll work out, but I can feel something there, and I’m willing to give it a shot.”

As Rainbow left the library, she turned back to Twilight one last time, regaining some of her regular confidence, “But if you do show, I can promise that you’ll have the most awesome day of your life!”

Author's Note:

Bam! Double update time! I think I had the most fun writing these two chapters (especially chapter 3) out of everything I've written for this.

Questions/comments, as always, are greatly appreciated!