• Published 25th Mar 2014
  • 18,126 Views, 1,349 Comments

Flying Sky-High - Calm Wind

Sequel to Head in the Clouds. Rainbow Dash and Soarin are unsatisfied with how they decided their friendship would work. An approaching event gives Rainbow Dash a chance fix that. Love is a powerful thing, and no barrier is strong enough to stop it.

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Chapter 1

(Timeline position: Three months after the events of Apple in the Corner)

(For timeline info, please visit my homepage)

“Haa!” Dash shook her head, whisking her mane back and forth as she passed through the clouds and emerged above them.

“C’mon Dashie, I know you like my flank, but you’re faster than that.” Soarin’s voice called from above. She glanced up and smirked. Soarin was flying backwards with his front hooves behind his head, looking down at her with a smile.

“Oh you’re pushing it, and you know what happens when you push me!” She pumped her wings harder, accelerating quickly. Soarin was ready for it, veering left as she made a grab for him. “Whoa!” She spiraled, tilting herself down to pursue again. Without warning, Soarin thrust his wings out, slowing him down considerably. Dash’s eyes widened and she tried to veer off, but she ran right into him. He closed his hooves around her and the two fell gently onto a cloud.

“Who was trying to capture who again?” He chuckled as she playfully struggled in his grip while giggling.

“You’re a hoot,” she looked him in the eyes seductively, only inches between their faces, “‘I bet you can’t catch me’? You planned this all along didn’t you?”

“Mayyyyybe,” He bounced his eyebrows, “are you complaining?”

“I will if you don’t follow through,” she stopped struggling, “c’mere you scheming jerk.”

“Yes, ma’am.” The two of them closed their eyes and leaned in. Dash felt like the luckiest mare in Equestria.

But then an ear piercing ringing shot through her head, making her wince. The noise persisted as her eyes squeaked open to the darkness of her room. Her alarm clock was blaring the song of its homeland. Her pillow was not beneath her head, rather above her, in her arms, and very close to her face. She groaned and pressed the pillow over her alarm clock to muffle it.

“Always at the good parts.” She grumbled and rose from her bed, body feeling stiff and sore. She cracked her neck as she kicked off the rest of the covers. The clock briefly rang throughout the room again as she removed the pillow and shut it off. It read 4:31 AM. She sighed and stretched her limbs out, yawning and letting her body slump down.

She had been keeping this schedule for a few months now and still hadn't adjusted. How Applejack and Big Mac did this everyday of their lives was beyond her. She couldn't remember the last time she woke and it wasn't still pitch black outside.

Helping around the farm was also physically taxing, especially for a pegasus. Earth ponies were physically strong by nature. They were built for heavier work and could probably recover much faster as well. She wasn't blessed with the thicker musculature of an earth pony, but she didn’t care. She was doing it for a reason.


Before getting to know him, she was admittedly lazy and easy going. She enjoyed competition and had natural talent, but she never did any sort of training. After seeing the skill and ability of the Wonderbolts up close, she understood how far she had yet to go. Soarin definitely didn’t earn his strength or the nickname “Power Flyer” by lounging on clouds all day. Dash prided herself in being able to learn and mimic complicated moves with ease. She had never seen a move she couldn't replicate herself. She wanted to use Soarin's Sonic Blast-off technique, but she lacked the body strength. Her only choice was to get stronger. Without access to a gym in Ponyville, her only option for heavy work was Sweet Apple Acres. It also offered discipline through rising before dawn every morning.

She hopped off her bed, stretching her wings out as she moved to her mirror. Every morning she flexed in front of it. It used to be her everyday reminder of how awesome she was, but it served another purpose now. Half the motivation of continuing hard work, especially to gain the strength she needed, was knowing and seeing that it paid off. Her heavy farm work had definitely built up her body a little, at least for a pegasus. Pegasi were generally more slender and aerodynamic than earth ponies and unicorns, so any kind of muscle tone showed up very easily.

Pleased and confident she looked just as awesome, if not more than she did yesterday, she headed downstairs to grab a quick bite to eat.


Flying Sky-High

By: Calm Wind

Chapter 1:

All through breakfast, her mind was locked on her dream. Soarin had changed her life. He had changed her. Her friends even noticed. They'd all commented on how she seemed different. Soarin had inspired her, wowed her, captivated her, and touched her emotionally in ways nopony else ever had.

It sucked that their lives were in different places. She figured she'd eventually be with him as a Wonderbolt, but it seemed so far off. He had made such an impact on her life and then was gone from it almost as suddenly as he appeared. They had kept in touch through letters every week or so, but that feeling… that feeling of having him close, the feeling of being in his arms, the feeling of kissing him. She wanted those back. Waiting was not as easy as it first seemed. She felt empty without him.

They had agreed on their relationship being close, but not too close. They were far apart, and Soarin was always busy. Very good friends? Affectionate friends? Was that really all they were? She wasn't satisfied with that at all! If she were, it wouldn’t be so hard to wait. He was special, too special. She would rather die than let him drift out of her reach.

Screw it. She wasn’t confused or conflicted. She wasn’t contemplating "strange" feelings or wondering what had gotten ahold of heart. She wasn’t dodging the subject like Fluttershy, she wasn’t frantically consulting information like Twilight, and she wasn’t swooning out of her cheeks like Rarity.

She loved him dammit.

She was totally head over hooves in love with Soarin. She would follow him to the ends of Equestria if she had to. She wouldn’t be afraid to yell it out in the middle of Ponyville. Well, maybe not that far. She loved him, but nopony had to know. She had an image to keep. She couldn't suddenly be mushy, at least in front of anypony.

She felt in her heart that Soarin shared her feelings, but until she heard it right from his mouth she refused to be satisfied. How long would it be before she knew for sure?

“Earth pony to Rainbow Dash!” Braeburn’s voice suddenly broke her daydream like a second alarm clock. She had barely been paying attention. When did she get to Sweet Apple Acres? When did she start working?

“Uh? Huh?” She looked back and forth to see Applejack and Braeburn chuckling at her. Applejack pointed a hoof at her from across the path.

“You alright sugarcube? You’ve been somewhere else up here all day.” She made a circular hoof motion beside her head. Dash's ears drooped,

“Sorry, I’m just thinking about... stuff.”

“While blushing?” Applejack smugly added. Dash flinched, completely unaware that she was.

“Blushing?! Uh, NOPE! I’m not!” She had just made a mental note to keep it all to herself and she was already blowing it. “Speaking of NOPE where’s Mac?” She looked about.

“He left for the barn about a minute ago.” Braeburn pointed up the path.

“What?!” Dash looked back. Her apple carts were full. Then she looked down the path and could see Mac slowly pulling his long train. “ARGH!” She heaved the carts into motion and gave chase at a quickened pace, leaving Applejack and Braeburn laughing in her wake.

She had been thinking about Soarin too much. Rainbow Dash couldn’t go a few minutes without the light blue, wild mane pegasus stallion coming to mind. This couldn't be healthy, she wasn't focusing. She let three hours go by on the farm before being snapped out of it.

She made an effort to get away from Sweet Apple Acres as quickly as possible when done for the day. She didn’t want to be late meeting Scootaloo in their new training spot right outside town. She was admittedly more worried about Applejack. Dash didn't want to give her any more fuel to use against her. Rule number one of Dash's ongoing "competition" with Applejack: show no weakness.

Dash weaved between the buildings of Ponyville, purposely flying low. Precision of flight was another field she needed to improve. She had been working hard on body strength, but she knew full well she couldn’t neglect her wings. She made sure to do plenty of wingups daily along with difficult flying drills. She usually did them alongside Scootaloo. It was more fun and more motivating with a buddy.

Her days had pretty much become constant training and occassionally nap time in a weather team meeting. It was a rough schedule, but she had a purpose. One that she would stand by and work towards through thick and thin.

She broke past the last building before emerging in thee open grasslands outside of town. She spotted Scootaloo not too far off. The little filly was always there early, doing the exercises Soarin had given her under the name: “Mr. Sorewings.” Dash still giggled every time she thought of that name. It was silly like the goofball he was, but she could imagine what would have happened had Soarin shown up in uniform. Scootaloo would have recognized him instantly and gone absolutely bonkers.

Soarin was so smart and quick thinking in a pinch, morphing his name into something Scoots wouldn’t get. Dash would never forget how he handled Scoot's situation either. He revealed to her she had stunted wings, lied about his once being stunted too, gave her new techniques to help stunted wings grow, and now she was on a warpath to get flying. Dash had never seen a lie used in such a positive way. In one instance Soarin had motivated Scootaloo more than Dash had in the years they had been friends.

He was just. SO. AWESOME. She couldn’t say or think it enough, but she could focus more on it later. It was time for her to be awesome for her little friend. Rainbow Dash angled up, spiraling into a long loop. She increased her speed as she angled down and began her descent, using gravity to gain momentum into a quickly forming air cone. It burst, sending a sonic boom echoing through the air. Scootaloo looked up, eyes wide and giddy as the rainbow shock wave expanded and Dash zipped past her,

“WHOA!” Scootaloo yelled while hopping up and down. Dash thrust her wings outward and twisted to add wind resistance. She angled up, eventually slowing all the way down before smoothly gliding to the ground beside Scootaloo.

Rainbow Dash had just impressed herself. It was getting easier and easier to pull off sonic booms. After that and seeing how easy it was for the Wonderbolts to execute them, she was clear just how much of an impact intense training had on her skills.

Plus she always wanted new ways to wow Scootaloo. Seeing that little filly smile just made her heart swell.

“Hey there squirt,” Dash greeted Scootaloo as the filly bounced over to her, wings flapping happily. Flapping, not buzzing. Dash had seen physical improvement in Scootaloo’s wings since Soarin's advice. It was no surprise. With Soarin’s drills, Scootaloo was working about three times harder than she had prior. Scoots reminded Dash of herself in more ways than one. Strong willed, hardworking, and determined. When Dash found out what it would take to make the Wonderbolts, she took on extra challenges. When Scootaloo found out it would be harder for her to fly, she took on extra challenges. The filly was a rainbow mane dye away from being a little orange Rainbow Dash.

“Hey Rainbow Dash! You gotta see something!” Scootaloo said giddily.

“Hm?" Dash watched as Scootaloo stepped back and set her hooves in the ground. She took three deep breaths as she spread her not quite as stubby wings out. Dash’s interest caught immediately. Was Scootaloo about to…

Scootaloo began to flap her little wings slowly at first, a change from her old method. She used to instantly pump them as hard as she could. After a few flaps she sped it up slightly, then a little more, and then a little more. She rose off the ground slightly, which was nothing new, but Dash’s eyes widened when Scootaloo began ascending.

“Whoa! Hey!” Dash called out in excitement. She quickly hovered up with her. “Scoots! Keep it going!” She cheered her “protégé” on. Scootaloo managed to get to about treetop height. She was straining herself, putting a huge amount of effort into it, but it wielded more than Dash had ever seen.

“Not… Done… Yet…!” Scootaloo forced out as she began to move forward slowly. Dash stayed right beside her as she pushed herself. Dash was mainly there to catch her if she fell, but Scootaloo had always dreamed of flying beside her. It may have still been in the works, but Dash did it for her anyway. After flying for a few yards, Scootaloo exhaled sharply and fell. Dash caught her and gently set her down on the grass. Scootaloo was panting and wheezing, but had a huge beaming smile on her face.

“Scoots, you just flew!” Dash congratulated her while ruffling her mane. Scootaloo looked like she would burst with joy hearing those words.

“All those things Mr. Sorewings taught me are helping a lot!” She exclaimed while rising to her hooves. Dash held back a chuckle. If only Scootaloo knew she had help from an ace Wonderbolt. Then she had a thought. Maybe she could show Scootaloo something Soarin taught her. She was still unsure if she could execute the Sonic Blast-off, but she hadn’t tried in while. It was worth a shot. She felt better and stronger than ever before so why not?

“Sorewings is a very good flyer,” Dash drilled herself to keep a straight face, “He knows lots of great training and flying techniques, in fact, he taught me one too!” Dash closed her eyes and pounded a hoof to her chest pridefully. She squeaked one eye open to see Scootaloo’s eyes widen considerably.

“Oo! Oo! Show me! Show me!”

“I don’t know,” Dash crossed her hooves and showed false hesitation, “it’s pretty hard to do.”

“You can do it! You’re the best flyer in Equestria!” Scootaloo encouraged. That's all Dash wanted to hear. She instantly dropped the act and lowered herself to eye level with Scootaloo.

“Then I’ll do it!” She smiled and winked.

“Yay!” Scootaloo cheered as Dash hovered a few feet away.

Now the tricky part. The last thing Dash wanted to do was mess up after building Scootaloo's excitement like that. She thought back to Soarin’s long explanation on how to cause an instant acceleration. She set her hooves, reached her wings forward, and tensed her muscles. She could hear Soarin’s voice in her head repeating “strong base, smooth follow through”. With all of her power, but as fluid as she could, she went through the motions: front hooves, back hooves, front jump, back jump, force wings!

Dash squinted as she fired forward, forming an air cone within inches from her start. She felt an enormous amount of pressure, which was usually the signaled she was about to be struck down. But to her surprise, the air cone shattered, and she fired along the ground. Upon realizing she had actually pulled off Soarin’s move without the aid of extra speed or anything else, she was ecstatic. Taking advantage of the moment, she lifted into the air and began a long turn around to head back towards Scootaloo. She found it was very hard to control her trajectory. How Soarin managed to move so precisely with this kind of momentum was another wonder she would have to figure out.

She came in for a landing, forcing out her wings and body to slow down as much as she could before slamming her hooves to the ground. She skidded to a stop in front of Scootaloo, leaving torn up grass and a little bit of dust in her path. She smiled and struck a pose. Scootaloo's eyes even wider and jaw nearly unhinged.

“THAT. WAS. WICKED!” She yelled, as she stared at Dash with awe. Dash nodded and slumped onto her flank to catch her breath. Just like Soarin had said, the move was very taxing on the body. It didn’t help that she had pulled apple carts all morning. “Mr. Sorewings taught you that!?”

“You bet kid, he’s a real master.” Dash answered with a smile as Scootaloo continued to happily freak out.

Soarin, Soarin, Soarin. So much Soarin. He was on her mind all day and had become relevant in more than one conversation. She watched Scootaloo prance about and sighed. Soarin would be so happy to see this. Scoots had benefitted so much from his advice already. Hell, Dash wish she could've wowed him just now by showing him his own signature move.

What a great stallion. What a great pony. His mere presence had pushed her and Scootaloo to improve themselves as much as they could. Dash doubted she would ever know another pony with such an influential air. There was so much to like about him. To love about him. He was a goofball, he always made her smile, he was a stud, and was extremely handsome. If only he was here now. He'd be so happy.

Whatever, she just wanted him there. She missed him so much.

“Rainbow Dash? Does that move always make your face turn red?” Scootaloo asked out of nowhere. Dash’s pupils shrank, remembering the effect thoughts of Soarin had on her.

“Huh?! Uhhh, NO! I’m uh..." She was caught so off guard that she couldn't even keep Soarin out of her excuse, "I'm just tired and thinking of things like Soar—” she slammed her mouth shut and hoped Scootaloo missed that last little slip up. But Scootaloo’s eyes spoke differently.

“Ohhhhh.” Scootaloo smirked. Not a good sign.

“What?!” Dash growled and looked away.

“Do you like Mr. Sorewings?” Scootaloo asked innocently, but with a smirk. Of course she did, but,

“NO! I mean, he’s a great friend, but, um, why do you ask?” Dash was an expert flyer, but a terrible liar. She couldn't even fool a filly sometimes.

“You’re doing the same stuff Sweetie Belle does when she likes a colt!” Scootaloo giggled while tapping her front hooves on the ground.

“Um—,” this only made Dash turn redder. GREAT. She was exhibiting behaviors similar to that of Rarity's little sister. “Well—,”

“Aw c’mon Dash, you’re a grownup. Grownups are allowed to be mushy. Doesn't mean you're not the coolest pony ever!” Scootaloo laughed. Her explanation was so hysterically childish that it turned things around. Dash chuckled to herself. Oh to hell with it, Scootaloo was like a little sister to her.

“Okay, you caught me.” Dash shrugged. She was still blushing, but she regained her typical demeanor, “Sorewings is kinda amazing. I do like him, a lot.”

“Well, he’s kinda super awesome, and you’re kinda super awesome. So together you two are like double super duper awesome! Sounds perfect to me!”

As much as she loved making Scootaloo smile, Dash was certain Scootaloo would never fail to make her smile in return. It may have been a kiddy way of explaining it, but Scootaloo was right.

She wanted Soarin. More than anything else in Equestria she just wanted him. But how could she see him? She had the VIP pass for the Wonderbolt shows, but they had a rough travel schedule ahead way out of her travel range. She hadn't had a chance to go see them in the recent months either due her new training. There had to be another way to see him.

Then a thought struck her. There were a few instances in the past where she had an opportunity to meet him and the Wonderbolts. One of these instances was annual, and was rapidly approaching in two weeks!

Fleetfoot touched down and slumped, panting hard. She glanced up to see an equally tired Spitfire reaching down to her.

“C’mon Fleet, get on your hooves and move those wings!” She ordered. Fleetfoot grabbed hold of Spitfire’s arm and was hoisted up.

“Sheesh, what’s with all this extra training lately? I swear my wings are gonna fall off!” She glanced up at a new obstacle course that was recently built in their facility. It was by far the most complicated and admittedly dangerous course they had ever put together. It was comprised of hanging beams, assorted poles, pop-up obstacles, and more swaying rings than one could count. To top it off they were all organized in a manner that required the flyer to make quick unorthodox maneuvers to avoid nasty bruises. Only the lead, the second, and third squads were given clearance to use it due to possible liability.

“I think we went a little overboard with this one.” Fleetfoot sighed as she forced her wings to move, picking back up into the air.

“If you want to get your ass kicked by some dark and mysterious look-alikes again, be my guest,” Spitfire pulled her along, “I know it all turned out fine, but let’s not ignore the obvious: we got flank-whooped. As our captain I refuse to let that happen again. If that means we have to work extra hard and with more dangerous training—,” as she spoke, Fleetfoot looked past her and saw Rapidfire take a metal beam to the stomach.

“OOF! WhoooooaaaaaoaoaAAAAAAAAA” Rapidfire flailed as he spiraled down and crashed into the large safety mats placed below. He bounced once before his face wedged between two of the squishy mats.

“—then that’s exactly what we’re going to do, and keep doing.” The two flew down, grabbed Rapidfire’s flailing back hooves. With a rough yank, they pulled his head free.

“ARGH!” He grunted as he looked up at the practice course. He growled and ripped off his goggles.

“Rapidfire I have yet to see you complete this course once. I severely hope you can do better than this.” Spitfire sternly commented. He glared at her and snapped back,

“But this is ridiculous! Why aren’t we working on new show maneuvers?! I’m an effect master, not a flight specialist!” He threw his goggles down. They bounced off the mat and up towards Spitfire. She reached up and caught them before scowling at him. Rapidfire recoiled as Spitfire got in his face and forced her will upon him so harshly that he almost sank back into the mat.

“Then the next time we are forced into combat, you can make a pretty cloud giraffe for them and maybe they’ll go away!” She belted in his face while shoving his goggles back into his chest. She was ready to give him more, but Fleetfoot tapped her on the shoulder.

“Uh, Spitfire?” she pointed towards the course, “Holy crap.” Spitfire followed Fleetfoot’s gesture to the course. Soarin was in it.

Soarin flew in and out of the obstacles, rising and falling quickly to avoid the beams, zipping around the poles, and navigating the rings with ease and sharpness. He got struck once or twice, but powered through it, making it to the end and rising up above the finish line. He looked back towards the starting line.

“Again.” He said to himself before firing back around and through the start.

“Sweet Celestia.” Spitfire pushed her goggles up and blinked. “How many times has he gone through it? He’s not even breaking a sweat!”

“I lost count at twelve.” Fleetfoot kept staring.

“Now this just isn’t fair. He's pumped full of alicorn magic!” Rapidfire huffed and crossed his hooves.

“No excuses Rapid.” Spitfire said flatly and pushed her goggles back down.

“Actually, Soarin told me he’s been feeling strange lately.” Fleetfoot cut in as they watched Soarin start the course over again. Spitfire glanced at Fleetfoot, who flinched and quickly put a hoof over her mouth.

“Pardon?” Spitfire raised an eyebrow.

“I wasn’t supposed to say anything.” Fleetfoot said quietly beneath her hooves while looking away.

“Kinda late for that now Fleet, spit it out.” Spitfire was curious, and a bit hurt that her childhood friend confided in Fleetfoot before her about something apparently very personal.

Fleetfoot sighed and her ears drooped. Soarin was going to kill her for this, and probably never trust her again. This was the third time in the recent past she had let something slip. She was too gossipy for her own good.

“He told me things have been strange since he was revitalized by Celestia. Apparently he never feels tired.”

“And?” Spitfire could read Fleet’s mannerisms. Fleet attempted silence for a moment, but knew she couldn’t fool Spitfire.

“And he didn’t want you to know in case it would be a problem.” She finished.

“SEE?! It's not fair.” Rapidfire motioned both his hooves towards Soarin. Spitfire rolled her eyes.

“What, are you afraid Soarin is going to take your ‘spotlight’?” Spitfire made quote motions with her hooves, “being the son of legendary Wonderbolt captains only takes you so far. You need to carry your own damn weight.” Her words earned a frustrated grunt from him. She turned back towards Soarin “this is just like Soarin to think something good could be something bad.”

She was indeed thrilled that Soarin apparently had some new power withing him. It was definitely pushing his flight performance to unreal levels, but was there more? Never ending stamina was definitely a plus, but were there any drawbacks? She continued to observe as a crowd of Wonderbolts started gathering in the area to watch him.

Soarin took no notice to his spectators as he finished his umpteenth lap of the course. But no matter how many times he flew it, he still stared at the finish line in frustration. It wasn’t good enough. Each time he felt he could have done better. If he had yet to break a sweat, how would he know if he had pushed himself as hard as he could? He was thinking like certain special mare in his life:

Rainbow Dash.

She would have tried harder. Dash would have pushed herself through one more time. Dash would never give up until she succeeded.

She had been an inspiration to him. The brief time he had spent in Ponyville with her was an experience unlike any other. Sure he had gotten locked in combat, and nearly died, but those felt like nothing compared to discovering Dash.

Rainbow Dash: the mare that turned him away from his endless cycle of self-inflicted loneliness. Before meeting her, it was always the same. Even if he was slightly interested in somepony, he’d leave them behind because his career was too important and too hard earned to let anything get in its way. She changed that, she changed everything.

Dash was the first mare that bounced back. They always backed down, all falling prey to his status and fame. Not a single one ever had the courage to hang on. Dash had that courage and more. She kicked him in the teeth with how idiotic that was. She forced his eyes to see why he couldn't go on like that. Spitfire had a hand in it too, but she and Fleetfoot had been trying to make him see it for years. Dash did it in a few weeks. She was different in the best ways imaginable.

Dash had imprinted herself deep into his life. He was not prepared for how it would feel when they went separate ways. Two days. That’s how long his satisfaction lasted. When they parted, they made it clear they were both very interested in the other, hell they kissed! They agreed on seeing each other often. Friends with benefits was the best way to handle their different lives for the time being.

That quickly backfired.

When she was suddenly out of his reach, he felt like a part of himself had been torn away. He didn’t need dark magic to feel invincible when she was around. Dash had changed him. After years of swearing to never get too attached, he found himself attached to her with unbreakable bonds. She was always on his mind in some way. He wanted her. He needed her.

He loved her.

If only he had figured it out before they left. They had kept in touch through letters, but you do not tell somepony something that heartfelt in any way besides directly to them. She deserved that much.

And if there was one thing that made Dash shine to him, it was that she never gave up, ever. No matter what the circumstance or the odds pitted against her, she went for it. It was a trait of hers that saved his life more than once.

He glided back to the starting line, hovered down, and fixed his eyes forward.

“I. Can. Do. BETTER!” He psyched himself up. He placed his hooves firmly on the starting platform, tensed his body and primed himself for a Sonic Blast-off. As he did a faint glow seemed to encircle him. His eyes widened and he went through the motions. The dim glow turned dark blue. When he made the final push off, the light burst from his body, expanding with the sonic boom much like the rainbow of Dash’s sonic rainboom.

Soarin couldn’t describe what he was feeling. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. He twisted and turned his body, easily avoiding every single obstacle. To everypony watching though, he was moving almost faster than the eye could follow. A dark blue stream of light followed in his wake. As he made his way through the final area of pop-ups, the last one flipped up a foot from him. Even in his slow motion state he couldn’t avoid it. So instead, he pulled back a hoof and thrust it forward. His hoof pierced right through the padded surface of the pop-up and split the metal it was attached too. Soarin went through it!

“WHOA!” Fleetfoot exclaimed and fell back as she saw him break the obstacle. The rest of the Wonderbolts gathered nearby expressed similar awe.

“Did he just punch through,” Spitfire’s jaw dropped, “an inch thick sheet of metal?!”

Soarin fired through the finish line, but instead of going back around he angled down and seared towards the entry runway. He slammed his hooves to it at full speed, and skidded about fifty yards along the ground before finally stopping, leaving a sizzling trail along the ground in his path. The glow faded from his body and he blinked, looking himself over. What the hell did he just do?

He had little time to think it over. He was surrounded by fellow Wonderbolts instantly, all voicing their awe and admiration.

“Well I guess it’s not a secret at all now.” Spitfire shrugged as Soarin got crowded. Fleetfoot just stared with her mouth agape.

Rapidfire glared in Soarin’s direction and at all the attention he was getting. After a frustrated grunt, he picked himself up off the mat and stormed towards the locker rooms. Spitfire saw him leave and shook her head. She didn’t know what she was going to do with Rapidfire, not like she ever did. He needed to grow up.

But Rapidfire quickly took a back seat in her head as the crowd around Soarin suddenly panicked. She turned and bolted towards them.

“Outta the way, outta the way! Let me through!” They mostly moved aside for their captain, but she had to move a few herself. She gasped when she reached the center. Soarin was sprawled out on the ground nearly hyperventilating, sweating, and had a hoof pressed over his heart. “What the?! Well don’t just stand there! Somepony get a stretcher! NOW!!”

“NO!” Soarin flew through the darkness as fast as his wings could carry him. He sped towards an unconscious Rainbow Dash as she fell helplessly. Soarin didn’t give a moment’s thought towards being in a large void of nothing. He was entirely focused on the only thing that mattered, the only thing he wanted, the only thing he cared about. He slowly caught up to her. He was flying faster and harder than ever before. He reached out a hoof and grabbed at hers.

“RAINBOW DASH!” Soarin lurched up, reached out, and grabbed hold of something, squeezing it absurdly hard.

“OW OW OW OW OW!!!!!” Fleetfoot’s voiced her pain as Soarin was nearly crushed her right arm. Soarin blinked and released it. “Oo ah aye yai yai!” She stepped back, shaking out her arm and blowing on it.

Soarin realized that he was on a padded trainer table in their medical facility. Spitfire had backed off as he lashed out at Fleetfoot, and now both were staring at him wide eyed. Every other occupant in the large room was staring as well.

“Uh, sorry.” He said, thoroughly embarrassed. He flopped back down as Spitfire and Fleetfoot approached again. He looked away from Spitfire as they approached. He didn’t want to worry Spitfire over the new “abilities” he seemed to have gained after being radiated by dark alicorn magic. It wasn’t all positive, as he just proved by waking up in the trainer room. Fleetfoot sighed and let her head droop.

“Sorry Soarin, I kinda spilled the beans.”

“WHAT?!" Soarin looked at her in disbelief, "Again? Really Fleet?”

“SOARIN.” Said Spitfire sternly. He flinched, sighed, and turned to look at her. “First I want to say that was a ridiculous show you put on. But honestly Soarin, since when do you not talk to me about things?” Her demeanor was not stern as he expected, she legitimately looked worried.

“You’re my captain. You’ve got more important things to worry about.” He tried to dodge.

“I’m your friend Soarin, and I’m sure Fleetfoot has proven she can keep a secret.” She gave Fleetfoot a flat look. Fleetfoot looked away and whistled to herself. “Soarin, what’s going on? You’ve been a mystery ever since Ponyville.”

Soarin sat up and stretched out his legs and wings. He took a deep breath and exhaled. There was no more avoiding it, Spitfire would never leave him be now.

“Well, things have been different since all that.” He admitted

“Brilliant observation.” Spitfire rolled her eyes.

“Do you want me to tell you or not?” Soarin said back with a glare.

“Oh chill, I’m listening.” She encouraged him. He continued.

“Ever since Celestia used her magic to restore my body, I’ve felt different. I don’t really know how to describe it. I feel more alive than I ever have in my life, I feel like I can do anything. All of our training is easy, even the kinds of things I used to struggle with. No matter how hard I go, I never feel tired,” He paused and looked at his hooves, “I’ve broken through all my limits like they were never there.”

“Doesn’t sound like a problem to me.” Fleetfoot shrugged.

“There’s more to it though,” He continued, “just now when I was flying the course, I kept trying over and over again because I each time I finished I felt I could do better. I was so determined and so set, something inside me reacted.”

“You were glowing blue, we put that much together.” Spitfire cut in.

“Glowing?!” Soarin’s eyes darted to her incredulously.

“Yes, glowing. You were really focused weren’t you?”

“What the hell is happening to me?” Soarin put his hooves on his head and groaned. All the thinking was giving him a headache.

“But, as long as you don’t push it too hard, this won’t happen again? Still seems fine to me.” Fleetfoot shrugged again.

“No, there’s one more thing,” Soarin said as he removed his hooves from his head, catching their attention, “It’s been extremely hard to sleep. Remember how I said I never feel tired? I almost never fall asleep at night and if I do, I get some strange dreams and wake up very suddenly. I haven't gotten more than two to three hours of broken sleep every night since Ponyville.” He looked between Spitfire and Fleetfoot as this bit of info clearly worried them. He shook his head, “I know that sounds bad, and it kinda is, but like I said, I never get tired. I feel awake and aware all the time, but I miss the feeling of sleeping and getting a full night’s rest. My internal clock is so confused.”

“We can take you to Celestia at some point. Maybe she can tell you more about the magic.” Spitfire suggested. Soarin smiled, glad that he had her to rely on. Even when he avoided her, she found a way in, and always made everything better.

“SO!” Fleetfoot suddenly crossed her hooves on the edge of the bed beside him. She leaned forward to rest her chin on her arms, and wiggled her flank back and forth. “My poor arm and I happened to have noticed you yelled out the name Rainbow Dash when you suddenly woke up!” She cooed as Spitfire slapped a hoof to her head and groaned. Soarin felt his face heat up. He had hoped that his call to Dash was still within the brief dream.

“Uh—,” he avoided eye contact with both of them.

“You haven’t really mentioned her since we’ve gotten back either! You didn’t even tell me the juicy tidbits of when you went after her train!” She was slowly sliding closer to him as he tried to edge away.

“Maybe because it’s private?” He glared.

“Don’t change the subject,” she poked him in the shoulder, “You owe me an explanation for almost breaking my arm.” She prodded. Soarin glanced at Spitfire, giving her a “help me” look. She rolled her eyes.

“Leave him alone Fleet, the infirmary is too public for a conversation like this.” She made her way around the table, grabbed Fleetfoot’s tail, and pulled her off the table.

“Aww, c’mon Spitfire.” She whined as Soarin felt relieved.

“We have a squad meeting in my office in twenty," Spitfire continued, "you can prod him all you want after that.” She smirked and snickered. Soarin’s head snapped back to her, his jaw hanging open. He knew there was a catch. Spitfire enjoyed his personal life just as much as Fleetfoot. “Take your time Soarin, but be quick. I have to go find where Rapidfire is brooding.” She released Fleetfoot’s tail and left the training room.

“Brooding?” Soarin looked to Fleetfoot who nodded.

“Rapidfire has been whining behind your back. Doesn’t like how you became an unmatched badass.” She waved her hoof back and forth through the air as she spoke.

“He knows this was… done to me right? It’s not like I had a choice.” He huffed.

“Like I said, he’s whining. Probably worried you’ll steal away his fans.” She explained, then glanced at Soarin. He suddenly had a slight grin on his face. “You secretly like that don’t you?”

“Heh, you know I like to see that douche squirm.” He began to chuckle. Fleetfoot smiled.

“See? I think your new powers are more positive than you think,” she winked, “c’mon, let’s get going.” She made a head motion towards the door.

Soarin hopped down from the table and followed. Despite the positive aspects, he wanted to be sure there was nothing wrong with him. He also internally groaned. He was going to get bombarded about Dash as soon as this meeting was over.

Boy he missed Rainbow Dash, and boy had he changed.

---To be Continued---