• Published 25th Mar 2014
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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 3

Author's Note:

MOAR!!!

haha i know most of my readers aren't used to fast updates, hell it almost took me 8 months between chapter 2 and 3 of head in the clouds >_<. I have to have this done by mid may though for the contest I'm entering it in, so you can expect lots of fast updates! :D

MLP: FiM
Flying Sky-High
By: Calm Wind


Chapter 3:


“Yikes this is really hard on the hind legs.” Said Rainbow Dash as she let go of Big Mac and sat down. Fluttershy trotted over and nodded.

“It takes a little getting used to. It’s a little easier for the stallions. It probably won't be as hard with Soarin. Macintosh is very tall after all.”

Rainbow Dash shook her legs out as Mac nodded in agreement. They were in the living room of Fluttershy’s house. Most of the furniture had been pushed around to make space for dance practice. It had gone smoothly, except for a few instances where Angel Bunny cut the music to demand specific attention from Fluttershy.

There was still a week to go before the ball. Dash was worried about not practicing enough. She didn’t have the luxury of many sessions. Fluttershy needed Big Mac to effectively show Dash the movements, and getting Big Mac free time off the farm was very difficult. At the most she’d get two, maybe three practices in.

As Fluttershy said, it was hard for the mares because they had both of their front legs up: right draped over the stallion’s shoulder, the left held up by the stallion’s right. This meant a lot of weight shifted to the back legs, but thankfully not all of it. The stallion only hooked its right hoof with the mare’s left. This allowed the stallion’s left front leg down to guide the movements of the dance. Soarin wasn’t as strong as Big Mac. Not by a long shot, but he was by no means a weakling being the “Power Flyer” and all. She saw him throw both Fleetfoot and Spitfire in their Ponyville show. If he could chuck them like that, simply supporting her weight wouldn’t be a problem.

However, Dash personally felt the mare had it a little easier in some respects. All she had to do was follow the movements of the stallion. The mare’s position was less comfortable, but it was up to the stallion to guide her around. Dash felt confident that if she could mimic Soarin's signature flight move, following some simple dance steps would be a breeze.

“That was better,” Fluttershy commented, “but you’re still too stiff. You need to relax your body and let the stallion move you.” She hovered over to the gramophone and restarted the music. “Let me show you again.” She stepped over to Big Mac, who looked a little more than eager to dance with her. They placed their front legs in the positions. Fluttershy was shorter than Dash and all around a lot smaller, so she was almost standing completely upright on her hinds legs just to reach Mac's neck. They began to move as the soft orchestra music filled the room.

Dash watched as Mac guided her around. Fluttershy was very good at going almost completely limp, but she kept her back hooves firmly on the ground, stepping with Mac as he moved them left, right, forward, backward, and spun her every once in a while. Dash took note that Fluttershy also kept her wings folded at all times. Dash had thought about using them to keep her balance, but she’d likely hit other nearby dancers if she suddenly flapped her wings out. She felt like she was thinking too hard about it, but at the same time she didn’t want to make a mistake and stand out at the ball. That would suck.

Fluttershy's firm but relaxed posture reminded her of Soarin’s explanation for his signature move. Strong but smooth. It didn’t quite fit with the dancing, but it was kind of similar. Drawing connections between the familiar and unfamiliar was her way of adapting and learning. She was still slightly giddy about having pulled off Soarin’s Sonic Blast-off for Scootaloo. If she got the chance, she really wanted to show him. If for nothing else, just to see the look on his face.

Soarin, Soarin, Soarin, she was so love-struck she barely recognized herself. She hoped she wasn’t misunderstanding it. She was a Wonderbolt fan after all, was his absence degrading her back to the fan girl? She didn’t want to ponder that possibility. Especially after all the effort she was putting in just to see him again. How could she know for sure? She loved him, she stood by that. But she never loved anypony before, was she doing it right? Better yet why the hell was she asking herself dumbass questions like this? She was only making herself worry when she was supposed to be paying attention to the dance demonstration.

Her mind began to wander even more as Fluttershy and Big Mac continued. She found herself visualizing an image over them. Fluttershy was slowly replaced with her and Big Mac morphed into Soarin. The two of them danced around in Fluttershy’s house until it changed into a large ballroom. This wasn’t her typical daydream. This one lacked a lot of speed, explosions, and general badassery that she usually envisioned. Here she was getting all dreamy eyed. She was completely captivated by a stallion. Her of all ponies, she never thought she'd see the day. Maybe love can penetrate all barriers, both mental and physical. Seriously, she: the great and awesome Rainbow Dash, the rough and tough action pony of Ponyville, swooning like crazy? She nearly had hearts floating out of her head at the mere thought of Soarin! Soarin: The Wonderbolt Power Flyer. A.K.A. the pony who broke Rainbow Dash's brain. And she loved it.

She was so lost in her thoughts that she didn’t hear the door to Fluttershy’s house open and close behind her. It wasn’t until somepony else appeared beside her and spoke that she finally snapped out of it.

“I’ve seen me some strange things—“” Applejack’s voice made Rainbow Dash flinch so hard her wings swung outward and smacked Applejack in the face. “Hello t’you too Rainbow Dash.” She said sarcastically, spitting a blue feather out of her mouth as Dash quickly refolded her wings and scrunched her face. She hoped she wasn’t blushing as much as it felt like she was. Luckily for her, Applejack was too focused on watching her big lumbering brother dance like a fancy pony. Despite this, Dash frantically struck conversation,

“Oh! Applejack! I didn’t see you come in! Haha!” Every word was forced and awkward with her eyes darting about, but again Applejack barely took notice. Big Mac hadn’t taken his eyes off Fluttershy and vice-versa since they started dancing. Mac made a brief glance to see if Dash was watching. Suddenly: SISTER. His eyes widened as they locked on Applejack and his body froze completely.

“Eep!” Fluttershy had kept through her motion, lost her grip on Mac, and softly plopped down on her plot, “Macintosh?” She turned and saw Applejack standing beside Dash, “oh.” She pushed up part of her long pink mane to slightly hide her face. The gramophone suddenly made a loud record scratching noise perfectly timed with everything stopping. Dash looked over at the gramophone and saw Angel Bunny holding the turntable needle up while snickering.

“What? Somethin’ on mah face?” said Applejack sarcastically as she made her way over to Mac. “I’m seein’ a trend here, whenever you ain’t on the farm at this hour yer either here, or were dragged inta town by Braeburn.” She stopped right in front of Mac. “Braeburn is still hung over from last night, so it was easy t’narrow it down. Anyway, Granny’s makin’ dinner and ah know you know how she gets when we ain’t t’dinner on time.” She kept looking directly at Mac, who finally blinked upon hearing about dinner.

“Eeyup.” He answered as he reached over and gently helped Fluttershy back to her hooves.

“Thank you,” Fluttershy said sheepishly as she turned to Dash and rubbed her hoof up and down her opposite leg, “looks like that’s all we can do today, hopefully we can help you some more before the ball.”

“That’s fine.” Dash was glad the attention was off her. She was struggling to keep her composure, “I’ve got most of it down, but one or two more sessions won’t hurt. Mac’s been a real help.”

“That’s another thing,” Applejack pressed her side against her brother’s, “would ya care to tell me just when and where in Equestria you learned how to ballroom dance?”

“Uhhh—” Mac’s eyes quickly moved between her and the front door, “NNNOPE!” He leaned down and gave Fluttershy a quick goodbye-nuzzle before he made a break for the door.

“Hey!” Applejack galloped after him as he escaped, “Git back here you!”

“Nope nope nope nope nope!” The two were soon gone from view down the path.

Dash watched from the door, chuckled and closed it behind her. She would have left herself, but after seeing the dance between Big Mac and Fluttershy and how easily it made her daydream about Soarin, she wanted to talk. She couldn’t let this opportunity pass. Fluttershy was perfect to talk to about anything. Aside from her being the only one of them with relationship experience, she was the most trustworthy and least likely to make a big deal out of it.

Twilight was too bookwormy. She’d probably look for a solution in a book. Dash wasn't looking for solutions.

Applejack was out of the question. Dash refused to show any cracks in her armor around her.

Rarity would turn the conversation into a confession session and act overly giddy and gossipy the whole time. Dash had already gotten enough of that from her on a regular basis.

Was Pinkie Pie even an option? For all Dash knew, Pinkie would decide to spontaneously throw a party about it and everypony in Equestria would know about it tomorrow by mid-afternoon.

No. Fluttershy was perfect, and as said before, had actual, real relationship experience.

“So Fluttershy,” Dash made her way over and sat herself down on the couch. Fluttershy was trying to pick up Angel Bunny, but he was fending off her hooves with the turn table needle of the gramophone. She turned as Dash spoke, awaiting her to continue, “you and Big Mac, it’s getting pretty serious isn’t it?” Fluttershy’s eyes grew and her face turned a bright shade of pink. It was normally right at this time Fluttershy would start denying such a claim in very adorably frantic way, but to Dash’s surprise, she didn’t say a word. This was a first and was heavily amusing. “The dancing kinda tipped me off. You two were pretty much in your own private little world.”

“Um—,” Fluttershy sat down on a cushion beside the gramophone, “yes, I like Macintosh, a lot.” She still dodged the subject slightly. Dash thought about reposing the question, but she had a feeling Fluttershy understood what she meant.

Another advantage Dash had with Fluttershy personally was that she had known her since they were fillies back in Cloudsdale. Despite having almost polar opposite personalities, they had been good friends for a long time, making Fluttershy a little more willing to open up to Dash over the rest. Fluttershy still got overly embarrassed about many things, but with her “old pal Dashie” she was slightly less embarrassed to speak out. That being a very small slightly.

Dash was curious. She wanted to know from somepony who had direct experience. She wanted to be sure what she felt for Soarin was the real deal and not just a fan girl phase. So she went right ahead and hoped she’d get a response,

“Fluttershy? What’s it like to be in love?”

The question did not have the effect Dash was expecting. Not in the slightest. Fluttershy did not panic, fidget, or deny. She did look down at the ground briefly, but with a very wide smile on her face. She almost looked eager to talk about it. Dash had to see this.

“It’s a very special thing,” Fluttershy suddenly began, “having somepony that makes you feel so warm and welcome just when you are near them. With Macintosh nopony else in my life besides my parents has ever brought me so much… comfort.” She wiggled in place happily and hugged herself. Dash lifted an eyebrow at Fluttershy's gushing, but it made sense.

Comfort.

That was something that really stood out to Dash when the Wonderbolts visited Ponyville: how comfortable she felt around Soarin. Of course she fangasmed at first and Rapidfire nearly ruined it completely, but as she spent time with Soarin, she felt so relaxed and chill. Eventually she just wanted to be around him because it always felt so good. And of course, when they were in the hospital and she almost broke everything in the room to get to his bed, she had never felt more comfortable or more satisfied nestling herself into his body with his arms around her. She DESPERATELY wanted to feel that way again.

Fluttershy apparently wasn’t done,

“Whenever I’m feeling down, just the thought of Macintosh lifts my heart,” she began to flutter slightly into the air, “part of it is just him being who he is, strong, kind, gentle, and very sweet. But the other part is that he’s proven he would walk miles for me. He’s shown me how much he cares. The feeling that creates, well, I just can’t put into words.” She spun around once before gently touching back down. She looked straight at Dash who wore a look of mixed surprise and amusement. Fluttershy blushed and looked away.

“Gee Fluttershy, you really do love the big guy huh?” Dash chuckled.

“Um—, that was a bit much,” she giggled, embarrassed, but still happy. Dash scoffed,

“That was perfect Fluttershy, you couldn’t have answered it better. You’re lucky to have your stallion here. I just hope mine is where I’m going.” She thanked Fluttershy and made her way towards the door.

Who would have thought she'd get something so personal out of Fluttershy? Dash almost felt like she was looking at a different pony. Then again, Dash had been acting different recently because of a stallion as well. If this was the case, then she was more than sure of it. Soarin made her feel warm, happy, and comfortable. Just like how Big Mac did for Fluttershy. It couldn’t just be a coincidence. She was in love with Soarin, and that love was more than just a celebrity crush, it was real. And she’d be damned if she didn’t go after him with a fiery passion.


Soarin couldn’t take it anymore. Spitfire had chosen a great time to be out of office for a week. She had just returned and he wasn’t going to let a day go by before he got a straight answer.

Spitfire said that her little emotional hiccup in the gym had nothing to do with him or Rainbow Dash, but then she left before he could say anything else. He couldn’t just let that go. He had to make sure of it. If she had been hiding something from him for twenty plus years he was going to let her have it.

He made his way through the halls of the compound with a purpose. After almost running over multiple fellow Wonderbolts and tripping over a wet floor warning sign right into a bucket full of mop water, Soarin stood outside Spitfire’s office. He shook himself off the best he could before knocking on the door.

Right after he did the door jostled with a loud THUMP and the silhouette of a mare’s face pressed against the foggy glass window followed by,

“SON OF A BITCH!”

Fleetfoot.

Soarin just stared at the door. He figured his knock went unheard, but since Fleetfoot was already in the office, why not? He let himself in and peeked around the door,

“What the hell is going on in here?” He asked as he saw Spitfire on one end of the office, shrugging. Fleetfoot was clutching her nose with both of her front hooves.

“Why did you let go?” Spitfire questioned Fleetfoot.

“I didn’t! You flung me!” Fleetfoot swiped her hooves to the side.

“I told you to hold on. As in firm grip. As in not dainty hooves. As in that was your own damn fault.” Spitfire explained bluntly.

“Ah, dancing lessons.” Soarin put it together out-loud, catching both of their attention as he stepped in and closed the door behind him. Fleetfoot looked him up and down in confusion.

“Did you swim here?” She commented. He was still a little wet from tripping into the bucket, his mane dripping. He sighed.

“I didn’t see the wet floor sign, or the bucket okay? We need to get wet floor signs that aren’t same color as the floor, walls, and ceiling. Seriously, who did we hire to paint this place? It’s nothing but dark blue.” He rolled his eyes as Fleetfoot giggled. “Laugh it up red-nose did you see the door coming?” He fought back. Fleetfoot covered her nose and glared at him.

“Hey she’s stronger than she looks.” She made a head motion towards an unamused Spitfire. Soarin looked up at his captain, remembering why he stormed through the hallways in the first place.

“Speaking of ‘she’, I need to talk to her, do you mind?” He asked Fleetfoot.

“Sure, go ahead, I’ll take a break.” Fleetfoot sat down.

“I need to ask her something personal.” Soarin added while giving Fleetfoot a look.

“Okay, go ahead.” Fleetfoot didn’t move. Soarin made his look sterner. “Oh.” Fleetfoot quickly rose up, “I should probably get some ice for this.” She referred to her nose.

“Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” Spitfire couldn’t help but add, earning an angered grunt from Fleetfoot as she finally left.

“Spitfire—,” Soarin tried to start.

“Please tell me this isn’t about what happened in the gym last week.” She interrupted. Soarin just stared. “It is, isn’t it?” She rolled her eyes. Soarin refused to be brushed aside.

“As a matter of fact it is. You scampered away before I could even say anything!” He cut in before she could continue. “Please tell me you haven’t been keeping something from me all these years. Because if you have been, you picked a terrible time to let it all slip!” She let him speak. Let him get it all out, because she already had a response.

“Good lord Soarin, did you even listen to me last week?” She retorted. “What, you think I’m in love with you or something?”

“What was all of that, 'jealous of Rainbow Dash' stuff?” He brought up her exact words. She shook her head.

“Again. Stallions.” She sighed. “Look Soarin, you’re a great guy and all, but you’re like a brother to me. I’d rather kiss Rapidf—” she winced and Soarin gave her a terrified look, “I can’t believe I almost said that, he’s one exception. I’d rather kiss a random drunk at the bar than you because it would feel like kissing a brother. I’m serious about that. You completely missed my point.”

“I think I got one, sheesh a drunk at the bar?” Soarin rolled his eyes.

“SOARIN!” She sat down at her desk, rested her head in her hooves and groaned. “I guess the gig is up, just listen to me okay?” She looked up and saw him pull a seat up to her desk.

“Fine, I’m listening.” He crossed his hooves, eager for some answers.

“Soarin, I’m the captain of the Wonderbolts: The lead squad and the whole damn organization. How much time do you think I have to myself?” She asked. He blinked, not expecting a question. “None is the answer to that question.” She said before he could put any thought to it. “Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Soarin’s ears perked up, he couldn’t believe what he was about to hear, “but my whole life is nothing but Wonderbolts, business, appearances, meeting, etc. I have no time for anything personal and the only friends I have are you and Fleet who I get to spend time with because of workplace.”

“You’ve gotta be—,” Soarin quietly began speaking, but she continued.

“I get a little lonely sometimes okay? I wish I had time to go out, meet a nice stallion, and have somepony special. The reason I said I’m jealous of Dash is because of how you talk about her! It reminded me how much I wish I had a stallion in my life that felt so strongly about me. But it’s unrealistic because my career comes first.”

“SPITFIRE!” Soarin stood up from the chair, scooting it back, thrust out his wings, and pointed at her. “Are you kidding me?!?!” He fumed. She barely flinched, meeting his angered glare head on.

“This is why I didn’t want to talk about it.” She closed her eyes and shook her head.

“Look at me!” Soarin demanded. She opened her eyes and stared straight into the storm of his. “All the advice, all the ‘Soarin quit bellyaching and go after her’, all the ‘compromise with your career’ stuff, you… you… Hypocrite!” He couldn’t believe it. After how much she did to make him understand that he needed to live beyond his career, hearing this went against almost everything she had been prodding him about for years.

“Soarin, sit down!” Spitfire tried to keep her demeanor.

“No! You listen to me! What are you trying to pull? How the hell can I trust you now? Spitfire I’ve never seen anything more selfish in my life! How can you push me so hard in one direction, claiming it to be the right way, and then not follow it yourself!?” His words stabbed deep. She got up on her desk and glared her fiercest glare face to face with him.

“SIT. DOWN.” She forced her will. Soarin refused to budge. They held firm for a few moments before Soarin sighed.

“Give me one good reason why you’ve done this to me.” He said while backing off, but not sitting down. Spitfire kept the glare in place for a second, then looked down and shook her head.

“Okay, here’s the best and only reason. You’re life as a Wonderbolt isn’t NEARLY as cluttered and crowded as mine, but you approached it as if it were.” She hopped down from her desk, extended a hoof and poked him in the chest. “You have time for things outside the Wonderbolts that I don’t, but you ignored them for the ‘sake of your career’. Did the thought even cross your mind that I didn’t want that for you? That I didn’t want you to be stuck like me?” She sniffled, causing Soarin’s eyes to widen in realization, “I was just looking out for you, like a good sister would. That’s very selfish of me huh?” She turned away.

Soarin couldn’t see, but the few sniffles were all he needed to hear. Spitfire was crying? What had he done? Sure this was a revelation, but it didn’t change the fact that Spitfire cared about him and had helped him a lot through his life. It was a fact that he just stepped on pretty hard. He quickly rushed forward, forced her to turn around, and only caught a brief glimpse of a single tear falling from both of her eyes before pulling her into a hug. Spitfire was surprised, but didn’t fight it. After pulling out all the stops and finally revealing her troubles to somepony, she sure as hell needed a hug.

“Gee, that was real dickish of me wasn’t it?” Soarin tried to lighten the mood, it didn’t work, but Spitfire appreciated the effort. She hugged him back. It was a nice, comforting hug, meant to show sympathy as opposed to affection.

“Yeah, it kinda was. Don’t do it again.” She gave him a soft jab in the side.

“You are important to me okay? I know I didn’t really show that just now, but I can be a jerk. I really do appreciate you being there for me. Just promise me something okay?” He tapped a hoof gently against her back, “You put up with all of my whining and brooding and in the end helped me find what I really wanted. In fact you’ve done it more than once in my life. I owe a lot to you, so promise me it won’t be one sided. Let me be there for you too. Everypony needs somepony they can talk to. Yes, even you miss hard-ass.”

“Fine. Now promise me something.” Spitfire took over. Soarin looked back and forth, still resting his head over her shoulder. “Do everything you can to make Rainbow Dash happy. I know it’s hard with the distance and careers, but don’t let that stop you. Don’t let anything or anypony stop you. After the way you described how you felt, it would be a crime for her to never know or feel it for herself.”

Soarin thought it over. He was already set on that, but after what Spitfire told him about herself, he knew she told him for more than one reason. Spitfire wasn’t selfish like he had blurted out. It was the opposite, she was selfless. She had made more sacrifices than him and Fleetfoot combined to make their lives the way they were. He and Fleetfoot had done their share of work, but Spitfire was the captain of literally everything. Her responsibilities were endless. Yet she still found time for them, to help them, talk to them, and hang with them. It was easy in theory because they worked together, but even with the close proximity her time with them was limited and hard to come by. After how hard it must’ve been to put her personal desires aside. After helping him achieve something she desperately wished for as well. There was no way he’d disappoint her here.

“I promise. She’ll be the happiest mare in Equestria.” He agreed, but flinched as the door to Spitfire’s office suddenly opened. They were sideways to the door, so they both turned and looked quickly to see Fleetfoot, staring at them wide eyed with an icepack over her nose.

“Sorry, I must have the wrong room!” She grabbed the icepack and tipped it up like a hat before closing the door behind her. Soarin and Spitfire awkwardly let go of each other.

“Look Soarin, just make her happy and don’t worry too much about me. Got it?” He nodded quickly, inwardly chuckling at how quickly she reverted to her serious captain tone. “Good. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go kill our wingmate.” She stormed after out after Fleetfoot with Soarin laughing close behind.


“Rarity! Too much! Too much!!!” Rainbow Dash complained and squirmed as Rarity tried to apply more makeup to Dash’s face.

“Darling, hold still!” Rarity reached her hooves up and held Dash steady on the stool while her magic worked with the cosmetics.

Just like the first week, the second had gone by really fast. A mixture of excitement and anxiety had been endlessly clawing at Dash. Before she knew it, she was sitting on a stool on the second floor of Carousel Boutique and fighting Rarity on the issue of the makeup.

“Why is this taking so long? I don’t want to look like a clown!” Dash whined.

“Hush! It’s only taking long because you won’t sit still and—, wait, what are you implying?” Rarity suddenly stopped and Dash opened her eyes to see Rarity glaring at her.

“Huh?”

“I always wear makeup, are you saying I look like a clown?!” Rarity was suddenly very defensive. Dash leaned back slightly and shook her head. “Good. Now really Rainbow Dash, don’t move. I’m almost done.” Rarity went right back into professional mode, using her magic to apply all the touches she found to work with Dash’s face, complexion, and overall look. After a few minutes, “Voila!”

“Finally.” Dash looked around for a mirror, but Rarity pushed her right back down.

“Oh no you don’t! I have to fix your mane up too!”

“What?!” Dash let her shoulders slump and groaned.

“I’ll hear none of it darling. You are going to look your best for Soarin and you better believe I’m not letting you go until you do!” Rarity brought up a brush and some mane spray with her magic. “Ugh! Seriously Rainbow Dash, do you ever brush your mane?” Rarity commented as she struggled and tugged with the brush.

“Ow! Hey I, OW! Like it just the way Oo! AH! It is!”

“Oh! Horrid!”

Once Rarity had finally worked all the snarls out of Rainbow Dash’s mane, the rest went smoothly and she worked it until she was satisfied.

“All finished! Oooohoohoo! You look absolutely fabulous!” Rarity clapped her hooves together. Dash didn’t like the sound of that.

“Just let me see it already.” Dash requested rather unenthused. Rarity eagerly floated a mirror over to Dash. She gasped lightly as she looked at herself. Boy did Rarity know how to work cosmetics. Dash looked closely over every inch of her face, and couldn’t find a single slight imperfection. Sure she looked awesome on a regular basis, but now she looked literally perfect. Thankfully Rarity had gone easy on the lipstick. Dash was blue for crying out loud, so she was worried her lips would look like they were bleeding. Her eyelashes were so touched up they seemed to sparkle in the light.

Then her mane: it didn’t look like her mane at all. Dash generally let the pillow do her hair each morning. That or after a shower she’d shake it out and pat it down with her hooves. Hence why it always had the wild look, but she preferred it that way. She didn’t know what Rarity had done to it, but it was completely straight and looked silky smooth. The light bounced off gracefully, giving it a soft shine. It draped over her shoulders, further than it ever had in its natural state.

“I look—” Dash lifted an eyebrow, “Too pretty.” She said with slight discomfort.

“You’re welcome.” Rarity rolled her eyes, analyzing the slight dissatisfaction in Dash’s face. “Oh let go of the toughness! Let’s get you into your dress and show everypony else!”

“Wait what?!” Dash realized what Rarity meant. “You invited our friends over?!”

“Of course! I want them to see how beautiful you are!” Rarity beamed as she pushed Dash towards her dress hanging up nearby. She was going to be with Twilight on the way to the ball anyway, but Dash was hoping she wouldn’t have to share it with anypony else. Especially Applejack. Defeated, she let Rarity take over as she floated the pieces of the dress over.

“Now,” Rarity began as she fitted the golden leaf behind Dash’s ear first, “I had to make some slight adjustments because you are a bit more... fit than you were when you last wore it,” she moved the long rainbow shawl over Dash, “Wings.” She indicated. Dash opened her wings so Rarity could slip the wing holes over them. “But it didn’t take away from the dress at all so it should be just as good as it’s always been.” She helped Dash put on her golden hoof braces and strapped them up. “Ah you look wonderful!”

“Great…” Dash sighed as she looked herself over in the mirror. As Rarity said, she was a skinny rail last time she wore the dress, at least compared to her more toned up physique now. The dress felt a lot snugger despite the “adjustments” Rarity mentioned, especially around the shoulders and base of the wings, but as long as it didn’t rip or tear, it would be fine. Now she had to go be shown to all her friends, which she wasn’t too excited about.

“Come on! Don’t keep everypony waiting!” Rarity eagerly waved from the door. Dash sighed and followed Rarity to the stairs. She didn’t care about all this, no matter how much it bothered her. She was doing this for one reason and one reason only: Soarin. She’d stay tough through the humiliation and anything else for him. Anything.

“Presenting!” Rarity’s voice came from the bottom of the stairs. “The new and improved Rainbow Dash!” She yelled out. Dash just stood at the top of the stairs, confused. “Rainbow Dash, darling, you missed your cue!” Rarity yelled up seconds later.

“Oh.” Dash rolled her eyes. Here it comes. She made her way down the stairs, looking away as soon as she saw all of her friends. She was expecting laughs, but was surprised when none of them said anything. She looked up as she reached the bottom step and all of them wore looks of amazement. All the while Rarity was puffing out her chest with pride.

“Wowwee.” Applejack was the first to speak up.

“Who’s this?!" Pinkie reached her hooves towards Dash with her eyebrows bent apart, "I paid to see Rainbow Dash!”

“Thank you, thank you, you are all too kind,” Rarity bowed.

“Dashie, you look wonderful, I’m sure Soarin will like it.” Fluttershy commented quietly.

“Sheesh Rarity,” Applejack chuckled, “You really outdid yerself. I barely recognize her!”

Twilight stepped forward, all dolled up as well in her princess attire. She looked Dash over, curious as to why she had said nothing.

“Well Rainbow Dash? Say something!” She laughed along with the rest of them. Dash blinked, blushed, and looked away.

“Oh, sorry, I’m just surprised. I thought you’d all laugh.” She kept her eyes down, but Applejack approached her.

“Sugarcube, ya got a funny mind,” she nudged her in the side, “like Twilight said before, we all know you’re rough and tough, ain’t nuthin gonna change that. You’ve got a stallion to impress, and I’d say Rarity did a perfect job gettin’ you ready. Now go get ‘em!” She pushed her towards Twilight. Dash didn’t know what to say. She really did have the best friends a pony could ever ask for.

“Thanks everypony.” She smiled and nodded to all of them. Twilight made a head motion towards the door.

“I’ve got a carriage waiting for us outside. Let’s not keep it waiting.” She said with a smile. Dash waved goodbye to the rest as she followed Twilight out the door. The sun had already set and the early night sky was beginning to fill with stars. Dash’s eyes widened considerably at their mode of transportation. Canterlot palace had sent them large white carriage shaped like sphere and adorned with more lavender jewels than she could count. Most of them were in an arrangement to look like Twilight’s cutie mark. Even the hub caps on the wheels were covered in the jewels. It looked like the carriage had been made specifically for Twilight. Dash climbed in next to Twilight and took several deep breaths as the carriage began to move.

“Nervous?” Twilight questioned with a smile. Dash took one last breath and released a long exhale before cocking a grin and lifting an eyebrow at Twilight.

“Me? Nervous? Who the hell do you think I am?” She earned a chuckle from Twilight. The two got comfortable as their trip to Canterlot began.


Soarin sighed as he struggled to adjust the bowtie on his tuxedo. How many more things were going to suck more than he realized? Sure, he didn’t have to wear his show uniform this time, but instead he had to go through a bunch of trouble getting fitted for a suit. The local tailor clearly didn't understand pegasus anatomy. It was obvious they didn’t get many customers besides unicorns.

Then there was the issue of his mane. Because of the fancy attire, Spitfire made a note to them to not look so “wild”. Easy for the mares, one trip to a manedresser and they could have it sprayed down. Soarin had a hell of a time getting his mane out of its usual state, but after much soaking and painful combing, it fell down for the first time since he became a Wonderbolt. He looked weird with a straight mane, but it was just one night, he’d put up with it.

Last but not least: the bow tie. How the hell was he supposed to get it on? He didn’t have the luxury of magic. Hooves couldn’t grip something this small.

“Soarin! Hurry up!” Spitfire’s voice yelled from the hallway outside his room.

“Hey, I’d be out already if not for this damn bow tie!” He barked back.

“Quit trying butterhooves. Just come out and we’ll help you with it, we’re already running late!” Spitfire yelled back in.

Soarin sighed again, pushing away from the mirror and towards the door. This was going to be an interesting night. It had been a long time since he had last danced, and he didn’t want to dance with anypony anyway. This was going to be the same thing as the gala, but with uptight or snooty mares asking him to dance. He’d humor a few of them, but just for professionalism, after that he’d do his best to avoid everything.

He reached the door and hesitated before opening it. If only Rainbow Dash were there, he thought to himself. If Dash was there, it would be a night he would never forget. Oh well, it’s not like everything can be perfect. He opened the door to join Spitfire and Fleetfoot.

---To be continued---