• Published 7th Apr 2012
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Then Tomorrow Came - PonyAmorous



Twilight falls for Rainbow Dash but finds herself on the wrong end of a love triangle.

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Chapter 13

Chapter 13

Twilight Sparkle stared at the wooden door in front of her. She had been staring at it for a good five minutes now, the image burning itself into the back of her retinas so she could still see the grain pattern when she closed her eyes. Her saddlebags hung gently against her sides, the right bag storing the sealed flask that contained her special solution. It had been a trivial task to prepare and mix the ingredients earlier that day. Handling straight hydra venom was always a bit dangerous, but she had more than enough chemistry equipment in her lab, and plenty of experience with the proper safety protocols. Soon her solution was finished, her equipment cleaned and sterilized, and all she had to do was wait for nightfall.

Night had fallen, but now this door presented a new obstacle. It wasn't a very imposing obstacle physically speaking. It wasn't made of steel or concrete, just simple wood. It wasn't enchanted with powerful arcane spells. It wasn't even locked. Opening it was as simple as reaching out with hoof or magic and giving a small push. Still, it was what she knew waited for her on the other side that made it such an imposing task. Up until now, she had treated her little love spell project as just that, a project. Despite her excitement, she had been thinking of it as an experiment, an academic challenge of her own abilities, albeit one that had nearly resulted in her death far more often than she cared for. As her objective became less hypothetical, and closer and closer to a reality, her growing excitement had been mirrored by a growing nervousness. Now, when everything was almost hers, she was hesitating.

This is stupid. Just open the door and go!

Twilight slowly raised a hoof, paused, and lowered it again. She sighed irritably at herself. It didn't make sense. The hard part was over. She had worked out all the bugs in the spell design, collected and prepared the necessary ingredients, now all she had to do was go to Dash's house and cast the spell, but she couldn't seem to leave her own house! All of her greatest wishes were about to come true, so why was she so afraid?

Afraid. Twilight hadn't realized it before, but she was afraid. If she went through with what she was planning, her life would be drastically changed forever. That was the idea of course, she was miserable now and was doing this to change things for the better. But she had been miserable for so long that she had started to accept the pain as a constant part of her life, and a key part of herself. It was far from comforting, but she found almost a perverse sense of security in its familiarity. Now she had a real chance to tear that pain away for good, a chance to be happy.

Twilight tried to remember what true happiness felt like. She couldn't remember, it seemed like an eternity since she had last felt it. She tried with all her might to visualize what life with Dash would be like. She couldn't. True, she had dozens of dreams and fantasies, but the realistic image of day to day life in a relationship with Dash eluded her. She had gotten so used to the idea being nothing more than an impossible fantasy, that she had trouble accepting it as a soon to be reality. And there, Twilight found the source of her fears. She was in love with the idea of Rainbow Dash. Two years of wild fantasies had built a pedestal so high that she feared Dash would never be able to live up to it. Heretical as the thought might be, Dash might not turn out to be the shining paragon of perfection that lived in Twilight's mind. If she did nothing, she could keep that image intact and untarnished forever.

NO! That's ridiculous! I love Rainbow Dash. The real Rainbow Dash. I've known her for years and I fell in love with her the way she was. Who cares if tiny details don't match perfectly to some phantasm. I'll take the real thing any day! I'm not going to lock myself away in the darkness because the shadows cast on the wall have smoother edges than what I might find in the light! With that, Twilight Sparkle kicked open the front door and stepped out into the warm summer night.

She was grateful for the thick clouds that obscured the full moon. She doubted there was any truth to the rumors that Princess Luna could see through it like a giant watchful eye in the night, but it helped to calm her nerves nonetheless. The burst of confidence and determination had got her out the door and most of the way down the street, but had quickly given way to familiar paranoia. Twilight cautiously crept through the shadows, even though it was highly unlikely that anypony else would be out at this hour. Her pitch black catsuit clung tightly to her body, further hiding her from any theoretical observers. It had sat in her closet for years after Rarity had patched up all the small tears and holes. Now she finally had an occasion to use it again. Not only did it help her blend into the shadows, it also prevented her from leaving any stray lavender hairs around Dash's house. To this end, she had also tied back her mane.

With most of the natural light from the moon and stars obscured, Twilight navigated her route by a combination of memory and the stray beams of light that reached her from the firefly street lamps. After a matter of minutes, which seemed more like hours, she finally reached her destination and stared up at the cloud house above her. After a quick application of the cloud walking spell, there was a brief flash of light in the darkness as Twilight teleported up to the front door. Twilight found herself hesitating again as she looked at the puffy door in front of her.

This was it. She was here at Dash's house, about to follow through with her plan of breaking in in the middle of the night and enchanting her while she slept. She cringed at the thought. She had never so much as littered before. Her muscles tensed as fear and anxiety crept up her spine and twisted her guts. There was still time to back out before she crossed that line. She could turn around, go home, and.....and what? What would she do then? Just try and continue on like this little quest of hers had never happened? Get out her spade, go around to the back of the library, and dump her solution over the soggy and tattered remains of her previous plan? Even if she did, how long would that last? How long until she was pushed past her breaking point and tried again? The knowledge of what to do was already in her mind. It would only be a matter of time until her resistance gave out and she made another attempt. Maybe she would follow through, maybe she would chicken out and turn back until she made a third or fourth attempt. It was an inevitability, all that differed was how much suffering she would inflict upon herself in the meantime. Better to get it over with now.

Another brief flash, and Twilight was on the other side of the door. She looked around at the surprisingly clean interior of the cloud house. She wasn't sure why she had expected to find a mess. It wasn't as if Dash owned very much clothing or other junk to leave scattered around. There was a small cluster of dirty dishes, but they remained confined to the sink. Twilight checked to make sure she wasn't leaving any hoof print on the floor. Fortunately, the reinforced cloud floor remained firm, and didn't deform under her weight. Gathering her courage, she slowly walked forward in search of Dash's bedroom.

Well I'm now officially guilty of breaking and entering. Well, entering I guess. I didn't really break or force my way through anything to get in. Is there any distinction for use of teleportation? I doubt it. 'Twilight Sparkle. You are hereby found guilty of entering.' That just sounds stupid. Wait. Trespass. Yes. That's what it's called.

Twilight's idle thoughts evaporated as she heard the sound of slow, heavy breathing. Carefully peeking around a corner, she saw a door sitting slightly ajar. The noises were coming from the room beyond it. Dash's bedroom. Holding her breath, she very slowly pushed the door open a bit further, grateful that hinges made of clouds were incapable of squeaking. As soon as she had a clear shot, she hit Dash with the sedation spell that would keep her from waking up for several hours. The last thing she needed was for Dash to wake up and see her standing over her in her bedroom in the middle of the night.

Even though she knew Dash couldn't wake up, and nopony could see her through the cloud walls, Twilight's heart rate continued to accelerate with every step she took into the bedroom. She quickly retrieved the contents of her bags and began the setup. First she pulled out an ordinary looking bowl into which she carefully poured the mixture of dissolved ingredients. In the very center, she placed a short cylindrical tube with a single strand of her own mane running through the central axis. With a little bit of magical prodding, most of the mixture was pulled up through the tube and solidified into a candle around the makeshift wick. That was it. All she had to do now was light the candle, and she would be ready to begin.

Standing up for a quick stretch and a couple deep breaths before beginning, Twilight looked at the peacefully sleeping form of Rainbow Dash. The brazen pegasus, so full of energy and life, was now calm and still, unmoving except for the gentle rise and fall of her chest. The white cloud pillows were splashed with the chaotic colors of her wild rainbow mane. The curves of her beautiful, athletic body laid stretched out across the bed, soft but powerful wings splayed casually half open at her sides. Twilight's eyes finally settled on the beautiful lips that sat slightly open as breath passed between them. They seemed to be calling to her. Twilight thought back to all the nights on her couch after late night reading sessions. How she would stay up for hours, wishing she could shake off the restraint that kept her from reaching out and planting a kiss on those haunting lips. Dash wouldn't be waking up anytime soon, and as long as she was here.....it certainly wouldn't hurt if......

No! I can't! I won't! It's wrong to take advantage of her while she's sleeping.

Really? After what you came here to do, you're going to get hung up on this? This is where you draw the line in the sand? I think we're being a wee bit inconsistent here.

It's perfectly consistent. She can't consent to anything while asleep, therefore it would be wrong.

How is that at all consistent? I'm pretty sure brainwashing presents a slight problem to that consent issue.

It is NOT brainwashing! She will still be perfectly capable of making choices for herself. I'm just adjusting the emotional parameters so she'll WANT to choose me. Right now, she doesn't have feelings for me so kissing her would be disrespecting her wishes. After, she will have feelings for me, and it will be fine.

Perfect. Except for the fact that she doesn't get any choice in the creation of those feelings.

NOPONY GETS TO CHOOSE THAT! I certainly didn't get a choice in the matter. Fluttershy didn't. Nopony gets to choose who they fall for, or what foods they like, or any of the other parameters that influence us.

That's because up until now, they were impossible to change. Now a possibility for choice exists, but you're just not giving it to her.

What, ask her if she would like me to change her mind for her? Twilight wondered what response anypony would give to such a bizarre offer. Well she would probably say no. Then again, she would probably also say no if she already loved me and I offered to take it away. She'd prefer whatever state she's currently in.

Oh, so mucking about in her brain is totally fine because she'll want it later, but kissing her in her sleep just because she'll want it later is completely unacceptable. Have I got that right?

SHUT UP!

Twilight moved to light the candle, but found herself hesitating once again. She could still pack up her things and leave right now, but there really would be no going back after this point. She had been determined to see this through to the end, but the tiniest sliver of doubt still nagged at her. Her internal debate had raised a valid point, and she couldn't just ignore it. She knew Dash wouldn't want her to kiss her now, and doing so against her will would be wrong. How could she refrain from one course of action and not the other? What made her current plan permissible, other than she needed it to be?

There had to be something else. Some key distinction that would make it okay. Was it really going against Dash's wishes to make her feel love for somepony? Twilight thought back to the rejection letter that she kept locked away in a desk. Despite the pain its words had brought her, she had been unable to throw it away. Dash certainly hadn't expressed any kind of revulsion at the thought of being with her. To the contrary, the letter seemed almost regretful. The spark just isn't there. I'm sure it would be great if it was, but it isn't. Well, Twilight now had the ability to put the spark there. Surely if Dash had the choice to feel it, she would have taken it, right? If we could pick who we loved, things would be so much simpler. I would be hard pressed to find a better choice than you. Yes. That was what Dash had said.

Maybe they had just been kind words to spare her feelings, but Dash didn't seem the type to write something unless she meant it. Twilight focused on those four sentences, letting them run through her mind again and again, building her resolve with each repetition. Yes, Dash wouldn't mind. She might even approve. She had been single for the past year, surely she wished to love somepony who loved her back. They would be so happy together that it would be monstrous of Twilight not to go ahead with her spell.

A quick spark from her horn, and the candle was lit. Twilight quickly got to work, focusing on the construction of her spell. Small flashes of purple lightning arced from her horn to the candle in front of her. The flame turned pink and began to emit swirling, heart shaped clouds of rose colored smoke. With only minimal guidance, the smoke drifted over to the bed and into the nose of the sleeping pegasus.

Deep inside the recesses of Dash's brain, a tiny seed was planted. It wasn't an idea, or even a whole thought. Instead, the spell dove into the hippocampus and searched for one very specific cluster. The cluster that held the concept of Twilight Sparkle. Countless connections branched out, linking to all related concepts. Pony, purple, unicorn, magic, books, library, etc. From this central hub, new neural branches began to grow, stretching and reaching until they formed a direct link to the amygdala. Now any thoughts related to Twilight would also trigger a positive and deep seated emotional reaction. The long term effects of the spell mostly consisted of simply building and maintaining this bridge, occasionally activating it at random intervals to keep the connection strong and healthy. The rest of the brain would handle most of the heavy lifting. The left side of the brain would do its job, creating elaborate stories and justifications to explain the new feelings it would interpret as growing attraction and affection.

However, this wasn't all the spell did. Dash still needed one little push to get her started. Something to trigger the cascade of festering thoughts that would gnaw at the back of her mind the way they had at Twilight's. Continuing to focus her energy through the aromatic smoke, Twilight reached into Rainbow Dash's subconscious mind and began to fashion a dream. Nothing too formally structured or detailed, Dash's mind could fill in the gaps by itself, but supplying what fragments of images and feelings she could remember from her own dreams, replacing the bits of Rainbow Dash with alluring images of herself.

Rainbow Dash began to toss lightly, making incoherent mumbling noises in her sleep. Her magenta eyes began to dart rapidly back and forth underneath their lids as the dreams took hold. Her work done, Twilight blew out the candle and carefully packed up her things, carefully scanning the room to make sure she hadn't left a trace behind, or accidentally moved anything out of place. Carefully adjusting the bedroom door back to its original angle, Twilight thought she heard the gentle murmuring of her own name as she teleported straight down, reappearing less than an inch above the ground before she turned and headed home to wait.

***

Rainbow Dash awoke with a start, dazed and confused, and trying to figure out why her heart was pounding so fast. She knew she had been having some kind of dream. Multiple dreams? She wasn't sure. She knew that Twilight had somehow been involved, but everything else was a blurry mess. Whatever it was, it had dragged her all across the emotional spectrum. She felt like laughing, crying, and kicking something all at the same time. Somewhere in there she had been afraid of something. Something about Twilight leaving forever? She felt her blood run cold at the thought. She would hate to lose any of her friends, especially one as awesome as Twilight.

Whatever, it was just some stupid random dream. No point in dwelling on it. I've got stuff to do. Shaking her head to get her thoughts back in order, she headed to the bathroom for a quick shower.

She did have a lot to do that day. Her regular weather duties weren't much of a hassle, but being the head of the emergency response squad, she still had a mountain of boring paperwork to handle from that forest fire two days ago. Rainbow Dash grabbed another form and repeated herself for what felt like the twentieth time that day. After they had put the fire out, she had to oversee the subsequent investigation to determine the cause. She had spent the entire day yesterday supervising the effort.

Fluttershy had been brought in as a local ecological expert to examine what they had determined to be the fire's starting point. Traces of blood had been found near the remains of a torn up tree, but the fire had burned it far beyond the ability of any test to reveal what had left it. Fluttershy had said that there were definitely signs of a struggle between multiple creatures, but the damage wrought by the fire made it impossible to tell much more. One set of heavy tracks, combined with the mostly burned remains of a stinger, revealed that one of the creatures had been a manticore. Blossomforth and Thunderlane had come flying back in a hurry after being sent to poke around a nearby cave. They had reported flashes of light, and sounds of what seemed to be a very angry dragon thrashing about inside. That was a good enough explanation for Rainbow Dash.

She was mildly curious as to what could have gotten the dragon so worked up, but not enough to wander into its cave while it was rampaging. She doubted anypony else was dying to volunteer for that mission either. It didn't matter, the fire was a result of a small conflict between a dragon and several other Everfree creatures. If the Everfree Natural Society in Canterlot wanted more details on how the dragon's day had been going, they could kiss her prismatic plot and send somepony themselves.

Ha. Prismatic. She loved that word. Twilight had taught it to her. As much as she liked to tease her about being an egghead, she was always learning cool new things when they hung out together. She always had a great time. Even when Twilight got carried away with one of her long winded lectures, it was....cute? She hadn't thought of it that way before, but she guessed it was sorta cute. There was a bit of charm in that adorkable librarian thing Twilight had going on.

Whatever. I'm getting sidetracked here. Back to work.

Rainbow Dash continued through her stack of paperwork, but constantly found herself being distracted by idle thoughts that always led back to Twilight. The way she kept cool and effortlessly took charge in an emergency. Dash herself had always wanted to be a good leader to the rest of the pegasi on her weather team. Whenever she found herself doubting her own leadership skills, she would often imagine what Twilight would say in that situation.

Then there was the raw magical talent. She remembered how awesome Twilight had looked when she had taken care of that Ursa Minor. She didn't just rely on natural talent though, she had a passion for magic and worked at it constantly. Even if she was already the best, she constantly practiced and trained to make herself better. Dash could certainly relate to that. Then there was the fact that she was just plain fun to hang out with. Come to think of it, she hadn't hung out with Twilight for a while. She should see if she was free later that day.

Okay. I'll drop by and see if she's available later. In the meantime, I've got to get this finished before I can go anywhere.

Buckling down, Dash finally had all of the paperwork finished after an hour. After dropping the documents off in the mail, she quickly sped out the door to take care of her regular weather duties. She found herself moving through the tasks unusually fast, even for her normally speedy self.

After setting a new personal record, she was done with all her work for the day. Normally she would take this time to practice a few tricks, or find a nice cloud to settle down on for a nap. Instead, she made a direct line for the library, eagerly anticipating the fun times that were sure to be had. It was gonna be a great day. Just her and Twilight hanging out together. One of the smartest, funniest, prettiest ponies in Ponyville.

Wait what? Prettiest? Where did that come from? Well, I guess she's not exactly hard to look at. She's fairly well built all things considered. Still, what does that have to do with anything?

Pushing the errant thought away, Dash landed in front of the library door and knocked. The door quickly swung open to reveal a smiling purple face beaming back at her.

"Oh, hello Dash. What brings you here?" a sweet and melodious voice asked.

"Hi Twilight. I was just wondering if...if you..." Dash suddenly found herself stumbling over her words. Ever since the door had opened and she had seen Twilight, her heart rate had begun to speed up. Her body felt hot, and there was a growing feeling of tension and anxiety. She was starting to feel mildly claustrophobic, like she needed to spread her wings and fly away right now. She attempted to push on.

I was just wondering if you wanted to hang out. "I was just...I was hoping that...if you're not too busy, then maybe..." Damnit! This shouldn't be that hard! What's wrong with me?!

Twilight raised a quizzical eyebrow, leaning forward to stare into her face with a scrutinizing look. The sudden drop in distance between them caused Dash's heartbeat to soar even higher as she felt growing warmth spread across her face. "Dash? Are you feeling okay? Your pupils are dilated and your face is flushed. Are you coming down with something? If you want to step inside, I could run a few tests to see if-"

"No! No, I'm fine. Perfectly fine. I just...uh...wanted to borrow a book! Yeah, I was working on some tricks and wanted to borrow a book on flying and stuff."

"Well sure. I have a copy of practical aeronautics lying around, as well as-"

"Yes! That! I'll take that!"

Twilight levitated a book from a nearby shelf and held it in front of her. "Here you go then. Are you sure you don't want to step inside for a bit?"

"No! I gotta go. I'm very busy. Super busy today. Bye!" Snatching the book between her teeth, Rainbow Dash quickly turned and sprung up into the sky, leaving the library behind.

What the hay happened back there?! I just wanted to ask if we could hang out and I completely fell to pieces! It's not hard, I've done it plenty of times before. "Hey Twilight, do you wanna hang out?" Easy! Dash glanced down at the book between her teeth. Practical Aeronautics? I already own a copy of that! Twilight knows that too! Oh great. Now she probably thinks I'm crazy, or an idiot, or-ARRGH WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME TODAY! Maybe Twilight was right. Maybe she was coming down with something. She should probably head home and get some rest.

Unfortunately for Rainbow Dash, she couldn't get to sleep. She usually considered napping one of her many talents, but today she just had too much energy to settle down. After restlessly rolling about on her bed for a while, she finally got up and decided she needed to do something to burn off all this frustration. She spent the rest of the day flying and practicing her aerial stunts. She pushed herself harder and faster than she had in a long time. By the time she finally turned in for the night, she was exhausted. She flung herself down onto the bed and was asleep within seconds.

***

"WHOA!" Rainbow Dash bolted wide awake, heart pounding, and covered in a thin sheen of sweat. She had dreamed about Twilight again, though the fully flared wings at her side testified that it was a very, very different kind of dream. Immediately, she rushed toward the bathroom to start a cold shower. Though she could hardly remember anything about her first dream, this one was definitely memorable.

Bits of it replayed themselves inside her head as she stood under the water. Twilight giving her that smoldering look from behind a pair of librarian glasses that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. The light brushing of her outer feathers as Twilight had circled around her. The feeling of hot breath whispering into her ear.

You've been a very naughty filly Dashie. Looks like I'm going to have to give you some...remedial lessons.

No! None of that now! Dash shook her head violently under the frigid water and tried to will her wings to relax. It was just a dream, she was back in the waking world now. Twilight probably didn't even own a riding crop, and those socks...Rainbow Dash slammed a hoof down on the cold water lever.

After a long time, Rainbow Dash emerged, teeth chattering, to make herself some breakfast. She was feeling much better now. She didn't have any work scheduled for the next couple days, so she had the whole day in front of her. She was free to do anything she wanted. Flying out the door, she decided to just wander about until she got a better idea. Without realizing it she soon found herself stretched out on a cloud above the library.

Hmm...well I guess I could try to return that book, or would that be too awkward? Maybe I'll just stick it in through the return slot.

Her thoughts were cut short as she spotted Twilight leaving the library. Dash quickly pulled her head and limbs in to hide above the cloud. Why was she hiding? She peeked her face down through the cloud to catch a glimpse of Twilight trotting into town.

I wonder where she's going? Slowly, she began to follow, pushing the cloud along with her. What am I doing? Spying on my friends is so not cool.

Still, she continued to follow and watch as Twilight ran errands, picking up ink, stationery, and various groceries. She was certainly enjoying the view. She had never noticed before, but Twilight had really nice flanks, and they looked even better in motion.

No! Bad brain! Not cool! I don't think about Twilight that way. Well.....I guess apparently I do, but....

Dash knew that she shouldn't be thinking like that. That ship had sailed a long time ago. She was just a little mixed up from that crazy dream, that was all. And that was all it was, a dream. It didn't mean anything, other than maybe she had been single for a bit too long. Maybe she should do something about that.

Well there's an easy way to solve that problem. Twilight is right there.

Damnit brain! I said no! I just need to drop this whole terrible idea.

Despite her chastisement of herself, she continued to secretly watch Twilight go about her day. On the way back to the library, Twilight paused right outside her door. Bending down and giving a cute little moan, she gave one long stretch through her entire body that sent her backside pointing right up into the air. Dash nearly lost it. She tried in vain to push her wings back down to her sides as Twilight disappeared back inside the library. After a few minutes to catch her breath and get her disobedient limbs under control, Rainbow Dash took off. Maybe Applejack needed help bucking some apples.

Rainbow Dash returned to her house at the end of the day, nice and exhausted. Applejack had been rather surprised that Dash was offering, of her own free will, to do anything resembling hard work, but she wasn't about to turn away a free set of hooves and some company for the day. Dash had set about bucking the apple trees with extra vigor, and Applejack had thought she was trying to challenge her to a friendly competition. It soon became one, and they tired themselves out before resuming a more leisurely pace and chatting about this and that for the rest of the day. Dash's troubles had floated away and she hadn't thought anymore about Twilight for the rest of the day. Well, until she had just thought about her right now that was. Dash gave a small sigh as she took a brief shower to wash off all the dirt and sweat she had accumulated during the day. She muttered to herself as she crawled into bed.

"Stupid sexy Twilight."

***

Rainbow Dash woke up with tears in her eyes. She didn't know why at first. It took a few seconds for her mind to wake up enough to register that she was crying, and a few more to remember why.

She had been dreaming again. It hadn't been the racy sensations of her second dream, nor the haze of wild and chaotic emotions of her first dream. It was different. It hadn't even been a particularly sad dream. Quite the opposite in fact. Twilight had just sat there and smiled at her, and she had smiled back. Twilight had leaned her head comfortably against her shoulder, and they had sat there. That was it. Nothing else happened. Dash had never felt more at peace as she just sat there and felt Twilight breathing gently against her side. She couldn't remember ever being this happy. Then it had ended and she had woken up.

It hadn't been real, and Twilight was nowhere to be found. Now she was left laying in her empty bed, staring up at the ceiling through watery eyes as they shed silent tears down the sides of her face. She knew it was pointless to get upset over a dream, but she still felt cheated. As if she had been robbed of something precious. She pulled the cloud blanket over herself as she rolled over and sulked until hunger finally made her get up for a late breakfast. After feeding herself, Rainbow Dash stared at her empty plate, lost in thought.

This was serious, very serious. She was crazy about Twilight and she was losing it. Every thought she had eventually led back to how much she wanted, needed Twilight. How had this happened? When had she started to feel this way? The dreams had only started two days ago and they had hit hard, but it felt as if they were building off of something deeper. Maybe these feelings had been bubbling below the surface for a while, and she had just never realized it until now.

It certainly made sense to her now. How could she not love Twilight? She was wonderful. It would be the most natural thing in the world. How long had she been in love with Twilight without knowing it? More importantly, now that she did know, what was she supposed to do now? Rainbow Dash stood up and began to pace frantically around her house.

What do I do?! What do I do?! Should I talk to her about it? See if she would still be interested? She knew Twilight had once been crazy about her, but that had been a long time ago, and Dash had turned her down. STUPID! STUPID! STUPID! How could you do that?! How could you let the perfect mare slip through your hooves like that?!

Not only had she passed up the chance to be with Twilight, she had broken her heart as well. She had hurt her. Dash hung her head in shame at such a horrible thought. If things worked out, she would have to get Twilight to punch her in the face for being such an idiot. But would they work out? Would Twilight still want to be with her? It had been over a year. Twilight had probably moved on by now.

Sorry Dash, but I just don't feel that way anymore. You may have had a chance if you had acted sooner, but you were just too slow.

No, Twilight wouldn't say anything like that. She would find a much nicer way to phrase it, but that would still be the message. That she had been too late. All she might accomplish would be to reopen old wounds and painful memories.

Still...maybe she did still have feelings for her. There was a chance. Besides, she had to do something. She was losing her mind just standing here and doing nothing. She needed to take some kind of action. Immediate action. Patience had never been one of her virtues, and she certainly wasn't about to start practicing it now. She would fly over right now and tell Twilight how she felt. What would she say? It didn't matter, she would figure something out when she got there. She needed to go now!

Rainbow Dash was only mildly surprised when she noticed that she had already jumped out the door and was quickly leaving her house behind. She sped across town and touched down in front of the library door. She still didn't have a clue what she was going to say. It didn't matter, she wasn't going to let this burst of courage and initiative go to waste. Wasn't going to pass up what could possibly be her last chance. What if today was the last day Twilight held onto feelings for her? She only really needed three words anyway. Rainbow Dash raised her right hoof and knocked.

***

Twilight laid on her couch, completely failing to pay attention to the book in front of her. All she could think about was what Dash was thinking about. Was the spell still working as planned? It certainly seemed to be working when Dash had shown up all flustered two days ago. That had been interesting to watch. She had barely restrained herself from leaning forward and giving her a quick kiss, just to see what would happen.

Still, until yesterday, she had worried that the spell might not continue to hold. That it might dissolve and wear off after she went to sleep again. She had triple checked the calculations, but the doubt had still nagged at her until she had spotted a reflection in a nearby puddle. She spotted Dash following her around and watching her from a cloud. That had lifted her spirits. She was still hoping that Dash would come down and talk to her, but at least she still had her attention. She even put on a little bit of a show for her secret audience, adding a bit more bounce to her step than usual, and giving a little extra swing in her hips as she walked. She had even given one particularly lewd stretch when she had gotten home, and almost thought she could hear a loud *pomf* from behind her as she went inside.

She was now certain that the spell was working properly, but something else was bothering her. Along with the excitement, something else had been growing inside her ever since that night. This morning it had finally reached the point were she was finding it difficult to ignore. A sense of unease. She wouldn't necessarily call it guilt, more like the shadow of guilt. She didn't regret her actions. She had successfully convinced herself that it was okay, and she would do it again given the chance. Rather, she felt like she should be feeling some kind of regret. Some kind of guilt.

Feeling guilty for not feeling guilty? That's just silly.

Still, it was more than that. There was a sense of fear. Fear that she would feel guilt later. Fear that it would tarnish her relationship with Dash. Fear that she would finally have everything she ever wanted and she would be unable to enjoy it because she would be crushed under the weight of guilt brought on by some invisible karmic force.

Twilight's thoughts were interrupted as she was startled by loud, forceful knocking on her door. Was that Dash? She swore if this was another false alarm with Derpy delivering her mail again, or Pinkie inviting her to a party, or somepony else trying to get out of a late fee for an overdue library book, she was going to get heart palpitations from the stress. Taking a deep breath and banishing the excitement and nervousness from her face, she opened the door to see Dash wearing a look of fierce determination.

"Oh, hi Dash. Come on in." With a tremendous effort of will, Twilight forced her voice to remain calm and even, and stepped aside to let Dash in.

"Thanks. Listen Twilight, there's something I need to tell you. Something I only realized recently." Though she kept the bold, determined look on her face, Twilight picked up on the rest of her skittish body language. The light flexing of the wings at her side. The fidgeting of her front hooves while her back legs remained tensed and coiled, as if she were ready to take off any second. The idle twitching of her tail. Though they were much more restrained, Twilight recognized them as the exact same signs she had noticed in Fluttershy the night she had confessed. This was it!

"Twilight, I...I..." As Dash struggled to say the final words, time slowed down as a million thoughts raced through Twilight's mind. Excitement boiled in her brain, but was quickly replaced by the phantom guilt. Right as she was about to reap the rewards of everything she worked and suffered for, fear and regret slammed her like a ton of bricks. What had she done? What was she still doing? She would never be able to forgive herself for this. She had to put a stop to it before it went any further. She could break the spell right now, apologize and beg for forgiveness, accept whatever punishment Celestia could dream up for her, but she had to do it now.

"I...I lo-..." As Dash got closer and closer to finishing her confession, Twilight prepared to summon the magic she would need to undo the effects of the spell. Dash seemed too preoccupied to notice that her horn had started to glow. Just as she was ready to cast, she stopped. As she had done many times before, she hesitated. It was only for a second, but that was all it took. She barely noticed Dash say something that sounded like "OH SCREW IT!" before she lunged forward and kissed her. The glow around Twilight's horn dissipated, along with the rest of her fears, concerns, and worries as she melted into the kiss.

The last bit of guilt and regret dried up and blew away like leaves in the wind.

Author's Note:

Sorry this update took so much longer than intended. I kept putting it off to make PMVs, and to start and catchup on shows I had never watched before. Once I did finally sit down and start writing though, man, I really went all out. Hopefully you all like the result. My only concern is that now it makes some of my earlier chapters look like crap. Or maybe it doesn't. I don't know. Let me know what you think. I also hope you liked the smattering of neuroscience I managed to work in there. And oh, what's this? A double post? That's right. A shiny epilogue waits for you.