• Published 26th Apr 2015
  • 4,322 Views, 283 Comments

Wonderbolt Trials and Tribulations - White Comet

Rainbow Dash finally gets the opportunity of a lifetime; a chance to join the Wonderbolts and fulfill her lifelong dream. She presumes that from this point on, it'll be smooth sailing. She was wrong...

  • ...

Chapter 12

“Ya know, you never did explain how you’re still here,” Dahlia implied to Riptide as they and everypony else walked back inside the HQ. They had just finished their trials for the day, and were heading to the showers.

“Really?” Riptide tapped his chin, “I swear I did…” he pondered.

“Nope,” Dahlia punctuated. “Well, apart from the whole ‘I didn’t do nothin’, the ‘Bolt’s changed their mind because of my sweet talkin’ ‘ thing.” She said whilst imitating his voice and swinging her head from side to side dramatically.

“Well,” Riptide shrugged, “that’s all there is to it then. Like I told you.”

“And as I said before, I don’t believe you,” Dahlia said in a snide tone, narrowing her stare.

“And as I keep replying, that seems like your problem, not mine. Honestly Dahlly,” He wrapped a wing around her torso and pulled her towards him, “I thought you’d trust me a lot more by now.”

“Eww, ewww, you’re all sweaty, eww!” She whined as she pushed off of him, flailing her forelegs about.

Dash chuckled watching them from behind. In all honesty, she was as curious as Dahlia as to what actually went down. But she wasn’t as stubborn as Dahlia. Not that that meant that she believed what Riptide told them. Because she didn’t. She would just wait and find out another time.

She groaned a little as she walked into the shower run, tossing her flight suit into the nearby basket. Today’s test got a little rough after it started involving physical contact with other ponies. And she had a few run-in’s with Thunder Flash. A few? More like a lot. Dash didn’t know why, but she was certain Thunder Flash wanted her dead...okay, maybe that was a little overdramatic, but still...something bad…

And she still didn’t know what Thunder’s beef with her was. To her, it was just random acts of aggression. Sure, she might not be a friendly pony, but that wasn’t a reason to just randomly pick on one specific pony. She seemed to behave herself around other ponies. Well, she wasn’t exactly polite, but she didn’t lay her hooves on anypony else. She just turned into a bit of an ass. She was basically like a female version of Torque.

Dash skulked into the shower and made her way to the first one that wasn’t occupied. She turned it on and let the semi-warm water drench her, feeling it wash away the sweat that had accumulated from today. She let herself relax for a few seconds then picked up a bar of soap from the rack and began properly washing herself. Just water might have made her feel better, but it didn’t stop her from stinking.

Suddenly, she felt a shove come from her left side. She had her eyes closed to stop the soapy water getting in them, so she didn’t manage to get a sight. Her hooves slipped, but she managed to maintain her footing. She quickly wiped her face so she could open her eyes.

“You’re in my spot,” an all-too familiar voice said.

Rainbow opened her eyes, but didn’t need to as she recognised the voice. Thunder Flash took her place in the shower and continued on like nothing happened. Although she had many eyes from showers around her looking at the two of them.

“Excuse me!?” Dash exclaimed right back at her. That move was the final straw for her. She’d been pushed around enough. There was no time to beat around the bush any longer, it was time for her to do what she did best; confront the issue head on.

She took a step forward to position herself closer to Thunder, who simply turned around carelessly to face her. “Listen filly,” she began through slightly gritted teeth, “if you’ve got a problem, fight me. But you seriously don’t know what you’re getting yourself into…” she growled as she stared at her with narrowed eyes, trying to make herself appear threatening.

Dash almost laughed at her cringeworthy attempt at intimidation. It didn’t phase her at all. In fact, she took it as more of an invitation. ‘If you’ve got a problem, fight me.’

“Ugh,” Thunder rolled her eyes and began to turn around to get back to showering, “piss off…”

Suddenly, Dash grabbed her on the shoulder with her left hoof and spun her around, then using her other hoof, piled it on to her right cheek, throwing it out of the shower. Thunder slid in the water, but maintained her footing by balancing the slid and just rolling with it.

Numerous “Oooooh”’s echoed from the mares surrounding them. Dash didn’t hesitate for a second to take the initiative whilst Thunder was recovering from the shock of being hit in the face. She charged straight at her, determined to lay another punch. But Thunder recovered just in time to parry Dash’s attack and hit her back in the gut.

“OOOF!” The air was forced out of Dash’s lungs as she pretty much launched herself into Thunder’s hoof. But she recovered quickly enough to notice that Thunder had grappled her around the torso and was about to throw her.

Dash let her do it, but as soon as she was released, she thrust her wings out to act as an air brake. The resulting force of the air movement threw water up everywhere. Mares around them complained and whined as soapy water got in their eyes.

‘She’s strong…’ Dash thought as she glided through the air, using everything available to her to slow herself down. She wasn’t expecting to be thrown that well. Thunder Flash definitely packed more muscle than she displayed.

Once she had stopped, Dash immediately charged back at Thunder, who took off herself and charged back at Dash. The resulting force of both pegasi’s wings forcing air around threw all the water away from them and made a dry patch about a meter wide where they collided. They immediately locked forelegs in a grapple and fell to the floor. The pair of them span around in circles as they kicked at each other with their hind legs whilst trying to strangle each other with their fore. Thunder easily forced Rainbow’s hoof outwards to give herself an opening.

Thunder released the grip on her left hoof to try and hook Rainbow in the cheek again, but Rainbow saw it coming and turned her face so she only just skimmed her cheek.

Rainbow saw an opening and used her hind legs to kick Thunder off her “Ghh!” she chuffed as her hooves landed on Thunder’s torso. It felt like she was kicking a brick wall. Thunder was well built…

Thunder fell backwards hard onto a shower pipe, tearing it from its railings and spraying a powerful jet of water everywhere. She groaned as she stroked the back of her head, feeling blood on her hoof. But she chose to ignore it after she saw Dash diving straight for her.

Dash gritted her teeth and readied herself for the collision. She had a chance, and she knew she needed to use it. As she neared Thunder, she lowered her head, closed her eyes and counted down to the impending collision.

“ARGH!” She felt the impact, but not in the way he expected it. She felt two powerful points of pressure on her shoulders, which caused them to make cracking noises upon impact. And Thunder’s body felt farther away than she expected.

She opened her eyes and looked up to see what was going on. And when she did, she was unsure what to think. Thunder had pressed her back up against the wall and stopped her with her bare forehooves. There was no doubt in Dash’s mind now...and she hated to admit it...but...Thunder Flash was stronger than her…

Before she had any time to think further about her next move, she saw Thunder’s head flinch upwards. She tried to react, but her reaction times weren’t quick enough. Thunder bought her head down and headbutted Dash right on the top of her nose. She was probably aiming for the head, but Dash only just moved out of the way in time to prevent that.

“ARRGH!” Dash was knocked back a few feet by the blow. She maintained her footing, using one hoof to clench her nose, which was starting to flow with blood like a waterfall. Her nose seriously hurt, she was wondering if she’d broke it.

But her pain suddenly dropped in priority when she felt a hoof grab her and twist her on her shoulder. She prepared to counter another blow from Thunder Flash, but she didn’t need to as somepony else did it for her. Spitfire pushed Thunder away from her at the very last second.

“Ladies, I think that’s enough!” Spitfire demanded, putting herself between the two of them as a precaution.

A tense silence fell upon the room, the only sound being the hiss of the water coming out of the broken pipe. It lasted for a few seconds before Spitfire broke it. “Get yourselves cleaned up and meet me in my office in twenty…” she said calmly as she did a swift turn and walked towards the exit.

Well...at least she didn’t seem that mad…

“EVERYPONY OUT, SHOWERS BROKEN, WE NEED TO FIX IT!” Spitfire suddenly yelled at the top of her voice, waving her hooves towards the exit, making a few ponies yelp at the sudden boom of her voice.

...or not…

Rainbow made a quick dash to the bathroom to grab some toilet paper before she left to try and stem the flow of blood from her nose. Luckily, her and Thunder Flash avoided anymore encounters upon exit.

“What was that all about?” Dahlia pulled alongside Dash to ask the question.

“Ask Thunder Bitch, she’s the one who started it,” Dash replied, still with a little bit of anger in her voice.

“Are you hurt? She was pretty strong…”

“I’m fine,” Dash simply replied. She was not in the mood to talk. By the tone in Spitfire’s voice a few minutes ago, it was implying that this was the end of the road for her. She felt like packing her bags now. Would save her the time....

When Dash got back to her room, she luckily saw the bathroom door open, implying that it was free. She got a few looks of concern from the twins, Bright Skies and White Comet as she walked through, but she didn’t have time to fill them in. Dahlia would probably do that for her anyway. Torque didn’t seem the slightest bit interested. As predicted.

She used her towel to finish drying herself off, which proved extremely difficult when trying to hold some toilet paper to your nose with one hoof and using the other to dry yourself. A brief moment where she could see the advantage of being born a Unicorn.

When she was a clean as she could get herself despite the circumstances, she took a look in the mirror. She gave her mane the quickest brush she could, but didn’t spend too long on it. Not because she didn’t have time, but because she didn’t usually care. That, and she had other things on her mind besides how good her mane looks.

She held her head up for a few minutes to further stem the bleeding. Over and over she swapped the sides of the tissue to a clean side so she could check when it stopped bleeding. Once she had confirmed it, she threw the tissue in the toilet and flushed it before walking out, mentally preparing herself to meet Spitfire about the incident.

She didn’t say anything or look at anypony as she walked out, she simply hung her head low. There was no such thing as painlessly in a situation like this, so the next best thing was just wanted to get this over with as quickly as possible.

As she approached Spitfire’s office, she noticed that Thunder Flash had already got there. As soon as Thunder noticed, she glared at Dash and flared her nostrils.

Dash, in no mood to argue pointlessly, simply broke eye contact and gritted her teeth to suppress her growl. “Let’s not do this now,” she tried to reason with her.

“Whatever,” Thunder replied, flicking her head away. “Knock,” She ordered.

This time, Dash couldn’t help but release a low growl. But she did her best to make it unnoticeable. She bought her hoof up to Spitfire’s door and knocked loudly three times. Louder than she had intended, but she didn’t care.

“Enter,” Spitfire sharply responded.

Dash could tell from the harshness in her voice that she wasn’t happy at all. She could only fear the worst. Which is what she was fearing already. But Spitfire’s reaction only further confirmed her presumptions.

She attempted to go through the door first, but Thunder barged her way through to beat her. She simply huffed and followed afterwards.

Inside Spitfire’s office, it looked essentially the same last time she had been here in the Wonderbolt Academy. Her desk was at the back of the room in front of multiple big windows that gave her the best view of the area surrounding the Wonderbolts HQ. Her desk itself had multiple pieces of paper scattered across it. Nothing too crazy, but it was enough to tell that she was being kept busy.

“Sit,” Spitfire motioned her hoof to one chair and then another that were sitting opposite her desk, not stopping from her slow walk.

Rainbow and Thunder simply complied, hopping onto the chairs respectively.

Spitfire took position on her office chair behind her desk, wheeling it forward and leaning on top of her desk, cupping her hooves together. “Before we begin, is there anything either of you would like to say?”

Rainbow’s ears perked up at the question. Looks like she was going to get a chance to explain herself. She might weasel her way out of this just yet. “I was under one of the showers and Thunder just pushed me out the way, demanding it was hers.” Dash explained, feeling as if that’s all she needed to say.

Spitfire looked over at Thunder and raised an eyebrow. “Is this true, Thunder Flash?” She questioned.

Thunder Flash looked away from both Spitfire and Rainbow Dash, looking to her right and down towards the ground. “Yeah, but R--”

“Enough,” Spitfire cut her off, tapping her hoof on her desk to punctuate her point. “No ‘yeah but’ ‘s. I can tell this is just gonna turn into a typical schoolyard argument, and my time is extremely valuable, so we’ll discuss it no further.”

She stood up from behind her desk and turned to face the window. Dash could sense what was coming. And she was cursing herself because of the way Spitfire put it. They got into that huge fight and damaged that pipe all over a shower when there were plenty others around them free? Even though Dash had every right to stand up for herself, it still seemed like a stupid thing to sacrifice everything for.

Spitfire closed her eyes and slowly exhaled, slowly opening them again on the inhale. “You will be docked a considerable amount of points...and if we get a bill for the repair of that pipe, expect to get half each through the mail...that will be all…”

Dash’s face suddenly shot upwards and her ears turned towards Spitfire. Was that it? Really?

“That’s it?”

“That’s it?”

Thunder and Rainbow asked at the same time. They took a brief look towards each other because of the coincidence, but immediately returned their attention to Spitfire.

“No ‘don’t do again’ ‘s? No tellings off? No nothing?” Rainbow questioned, genuinely underwhelmed by Spitfire’s reaction.

“What do I look like? Your mother?” Spitfire snapped quickly, only turning her head slightly to the left to direct her voice towards them. “I don’t think I need to explain what will happen if I catch you again. Now leave, before I change my mind…” she ordered, moving back behind her desk.

Taking the hint, both Rainbow and Thunder stood up and left Spitfire’s office, making sure the door was fully shut behind them before they looked at each other. Dash glared daggers into her face, and Thunder also returned the disapproving look. Although nowhere near on the intensity Dash was.

Thunder Flash blinked and broke eye contact, turning around and heading down the corridor.

“Well?” Dash questioned.

“Well what?” Thunder questioned with another question.

Dash turned so she was facing the direction Thunder was walking in. “What was that all about?”

“I’d drop it if I were you. You heard what Spitfire said…” She replied firmly with confidence.

“Not gonna work,” Dash snapped back. Thunder tried to dodge the question, but she saw right through it. “What’s your problem?”

“We have nothing more to discuss,” She replied flatly. “Now piss off.”

Dash growled a little, but chose not to press further. It was like talking to Torque but with more swearing. But it had the same point as talking to Torque. As in it was pointless, because she didn’t get anything out of either of them.

As she walked back to her room, she actually felt a smile creeping up on her face. Despite what just happened, she somehow managed to dodge getting dismissed. She was still in the game. Although the bill for that pipe better not be expensive…

But then again… “Heh heh…” She chuckled at her realisation. On a Wonderbolt’s salary, she probably wouldn’t even notice that the money had gone missing. Just another incentive for her to get this right…

As soon as she stepped back into her room, all eyes immediately laid upon her. Well...almost all eyes…

“So what happened?” Dahlia immediately probed, but took note that Dash looked slightly happier than before she went to Spitfire's office. “Is that it?”

Dash chuffed and smiled, shaking her head. “Nah, I managed to get out of it with a warning,” she explained.

“So you’re staying? That’s great!” Dahlia exclaimed, though she quickly fell silent as there was another issue still to be dealt with. “So what was all that about with Thunder Flash?”

“Pfff, like I know,” Dash replied, rolling her eyes. “She doesn’t want to talk. All I’ve figured out is that she really doesn’t like me for some reason…”

“Yeah...we kinda got that part…” Horizon chimed into the conversation.

“I wanna rip her apart so badly,” Dash complained, clenching her hooves. “But I don’t wanna get myself kicked out either…”

“Hm...the innocent victim,” Comet identified. “That’s a tough one.”

“I guess your just gonna have to play it passively for as long as you can…” Dahlia suggested, although what she was saying was a bit obsolete as she’s seen firsthoof that Thunder Flash has always been the instigator.

“Yeah…” Dash sighed and laid back on her bed. “Easier said than done…”

Spitfire sighed and rested her head in her hooves on her desk. “Alright, you can come in now. Whoever you are…” She said in a semi-careless voice, different to her usual mood. Mainly because there was a lot of thoughts clouding her mind. Although she had still sensed that there was somepony standing outside her door.

However, after a moment of thinking, her ears perked up as she noticed that nopony had entered yet. “Come on, I’m waiting,” she said a bit more seriously, still confident that there was somepony there and she wasn’t just talking to a wall.

The door creaked open to reveal a certain Alice blue pegasus with a blue mane. “Oh, hey Soarin,” she began upon seeing him, but raised her head to look at him as she noticed something. “It’s not like you to wait for permission to enter.”

“Well, I heard what was going on in here a moment ago.” He began, talking in a more serious voice than her. Which was an extremely rare occasion.

Spitfire rolled her eyes, “So I presume you know what happened?” She asked, bringing her hooves behind her head and leaning back in her seat.

Soarin moved closer towards her desk, “I think we should have at least told Rainbow Dash about her first. It might have prevented...that.” He explained, cutting straight to the chase.

“Or just made it happen sooner,” Spitfire also suggested. “It’s not in our jurisdiction to disclose the history of one cadet to another. Be it either professionally or, in your case, personally. That information is classed as confidential, and we could get sued for disclosing it.”

Soarin tilted his head and raised an eyebrow, “What do you mean ‘in my case’?” He questioned.

Spitfire leaned forwards and met his eyes with her. Soarin wasn’t going to lie, she’s always had an intimidating stare that can go from innocent to death in a millisecond.

“You don’t think I’ve noticed? Or any of the other ‘Bolt’s noticed?” She implied.

Soarin immediately knew exactly what she meant, but decided to play dumb. “Noticed what?” He questioned back.

Spitfire leant forward again, back onto her desk with her forehooves lying parallel to each other. “You and Rainbow Dash. Getting a bit… ‘friendly’ aren’t you?”

Soarin let out a frustrated sigh, “It’s not like that.” He immediately defended.

“Hate to break it to you Soarin, but you’re not very convincing,” Spitfire replied. “And I hope I don’t have to remind you about the penalty for fraternising with the cadets…”

“I know, I know…” Soarin moaned, more frustrated than anything. “But...we’re just friends...that’s all…”

Spitfire finally relaxed her shoulders, noticing Soarin’s frustration. She liked keeping up her captain persona, in order to help her exert her authority and to make sure her words got through loud and clear. But Soarin had been her friend for a very long time, and he was one of the few she felt she could be lenient with.

“Listen Soarin, as your CO, I should be telling you to stop this right now. But as your friend, I’m not going to stop you. But ONLY on the condition that it won’t cloud your judgement. You’ve damaged your credibility with me enough already as it is. I don’t want that sinking any lower.”

“My credibility?” Soarin raised an eyebrow, “You don’t trust me?” He asked in disbelief.

“Not as much as I did,” Spitfire admitted, although not as willingly as she wanted to. She sighed before continuing talking. “Soarin, I know you care a lot about Dash, but--”

“I care about her as much as I do any other cadet,” Soarin immediately interjected, feeling a need to defend himself. He could sense that Spitfire was trying to point the conversation in a different direction.

“Oh really?” Spitfire picked up on his attitude and raised an eyebrow. She could tell he was on the defensive, and that’s all the evidence she needed. “So why are you here?”

“I’m here to--...” Soarin stopped himself as he realised where she was going with this. He tried to formulate an answer, but he couldn’t get one together in time.

“See what was going to happen to Rainbow Dash?” Spitfire finished for him, “Thought so.”

Soarin mumbled to himself, trying to think of any other responses. But there wasn’t any. “I...guess there's...potential…” He admitted, blushing ever so slightly.

“That’s for you to figure out, not me,” Spitfire replied. “Do what you think is right, but keep it to a limit. I don’t think I need to remind you, but I’m going to anyway. If the other cadets found out that you and Dash were getting friendly, not only would they start losing respect for you, but they’d also start judging Dash, thinking she’s getting an unfair advantage. And I’m sure if rumor of the results being rigged gets out, we’ll face a lawsuit quite quickly.”

“I know, I get it,” Soarin punctuated his understanding once again. Something that Spitfire didn’t seem to be taking notice of.

Spitfire huffed and remained silent for a few seconds, thinking things through. “Alright,” she said calmly, then kicked with her hooves and twisted her chair one hundred and eighty degrees, so she was now looking out the window. “It’s up to you now, Soarin. Make the right decisions. For the love of god, please make the right decisions.”

Soarin didn't say anything. He simply turned and headed for the door.

"Soarin?" He heard Spitfire's voice just before he bought his hoof up to leave. He turned around and looked at her.

"Please don't take it personally. I don't want...well, I don't want anything creating a barrier between us. I value our friendship, and I'd hate for professional decision to damage that..."

"I know, Spitfire," Soarin confirmed, pushing the door open, "I do too..." He finished off, closing the door behind him. Spitfire’s words, whilst understandable, had left a very sour taste in his mouth. He was still struggling to comprehend the fact that this has damaged his trust with Spitfire. He never even considered it. He was pretty sure that him and Dash would never be more than just friends...but over the past few days...he wasn’t so sure anymore…

“So what are you gonna do about it?” Bright Skies asked, picking up her knife and fork to start dinner.

“I’ll wait ‘till this is all over, then beat the crap outta her,” Dash said nonchalantly, taking a sip of juice. She really desperately wanted to get another round in with Thunder, but at the same time, she didn’t want to jeopardize her position with the Wonderbolts more than it already had been.

“Sounds...exciting…” Bright Skies replied, not entirely sure how to respond to Dash’s choice of words. Everypony else at the table was thinking the same thing.

Dash looked around for somepony inparticular, but he didn’t seem to be showing his face. She came to the conclusion that Soarin wanted to socialize with his fellow Wonderbolts instead. Not that it bothered her, as she’d be seeing him later anyway…

“Did you see the eliminations today?” Comet asked.

“Yeah, tough break for Strider,” Horizon replied, “kid looked like he could burst into tears at any moment. I tried to cheer him up, but he just ignored me.”

“Do you blame him?” Dahlia replied, “If my dreams just got crushed, I’d feel the same way.”

Again, another reminder for Dash as to what could happen. After her encounter with Thunder Flash, a minor slip-up could now cost her her dream. Something that she wouldn’t allow to happen, no matter what.

But first, food. Food now, worry later. She was starving…

“And then she tried to throw me against the wall, but BOOM!” Dash almost thrusted her wings into Soarin’s face as she mimicked the move. “And it created a shockwave cone around me and sent water everywhere, it was awesommeeee…”

“I bet it was…” Soarin replied, rolling his eyes as Rainbow Dash had told him this story a million times already.

The 2 of them sat down on a nearby cloud. They didn’t have any plans on what they wanted to do, it was just an impromptu meeting.

Dash sighed, “If Spitfire hadn’t stepped in…” she leant back against Soarin’s side, “I would’ve had her…”

Soarin flinched a few millimeters as he noticed Dash lean on him, but he held his position and let her do it. He tried his best to resist a blush, but it was hopeless as he wasn’t expecting the close contact. Her fur wasn’t as soft as he was expecting, which also took him by surprise. Then again, Dash wasn’t the type of mare to smother her coat in creams, lotions and other products.

They remained silent for a few seconds, with Dash leaning back against Soarin’s right foreleg, the back of her head resting on his shoulder. She had known for a while that something was up, since the way he was speaking to her was less relaxed than it normally was. But the stiffness of his body she felt against her back only confirmed it.

“Hey Soarin, you feeling alright?” She asked, looking up at him.

“Huh?” Soarin shook his head. He was off in deep thought, and Dash’s voice interrupted it. “Yeah, I’m fine…”

Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t sound less convincing if he tried. “You sure about that? You’ve been pretty out of it this whole evening…”

Soarin smirked a little bit before sighing. “Well...truth is, Spitfire and I had a little talk after she spoke to you and Thunder Flash…”

“Yeah?” Dash spoke quickly, pulling away from Soarin so she could sit up and pay attention. Unfortunately, Soarin was leaning into her, and with her pulling away, he suddenly had nothing to support himself.

“Whoa!” Soarin immediately reached out with his forelegs and right wing to try and grab her, but she hadn’t finished getting up either, so all he did was drag her down with him as they fell next to each other in the cloud.

Dash smirked, with Soarin’s face only inches away from hers due to the way they landed. “We seem to be in this position a lot, don’t we?” She said slyly, a slight blush visible across her nose.

“Yeah,” Soarin agreed, breaking eye contact and quickly bringing himself to his hooves, looking away in the hopes that Rainbow Dash wouldn’t notice his own blush. “Anyway, Spitfire had a word with me because she noticed that you and me like to...hang out…”

Dash nodded in response. She presumed that would be the case. If her roommates were getting suspicious, then no doubt Spitfire would. It was only a matter of time. “What did she say?”

“She said she wants me to...remain more...professional, for lack of a better word,” Soarin explained.

“Professional?” Rainbow continued to question.

Soarin nodded, “It was a polite way of saying, uh...stop getting personal on the job…”

“But we’re just friends, what does she care?”

“Well, for a start, I could be biased in my opinions and it could affect the scorings. There’s also…” he slowly bought his face up to get to eye level with her, “the other thing we're implying…”

“What other--...” Dash cut herself off as she realised what he meant. “...Oh…” her ears drooped down and she blushed. “Well…” Dash didn’t have the words to continue her sentence. She was just caught so off-guard with the route the conversation suddenly took a turn down.

“Well…” Soarin tried to pick up where she left off. He had something to say, but he was taking a big risk saying it. “I was...just...kinda taking it slow…” He reluctantly admitted.

To Dash, there couldn’t have been any better words for her. “Uhh...I was kinda gonna say the same thing…” she chuckled nervously and scratched the back of her head.

“Oh, really?” Soarin chuckled in response, “I didn’t wanna say anything in case you took it the wrong way…”

“I just froze up for the same reason…” Dash replied, then sighed. “This is my...first time doing this…” she reluctantly admitted, looking down towards the ground. She was ashamed to admit it, but she felt like now was the best a time as it was ever going to get.

“Oh?” Soarin’s brain didn’t take long to process her disclosure. “Then you go at whatever pace you want, and I’ll stay with you,” he stated with a smile. Although to the experienced, there was a huge problem with his suggesting. However, he was hoping that since Dash just said that this was her first experience, she wouldn’t even notice it.

Rainbow’s smile grew larger, feeling like a weight had just been lifted from her shoulders. “Thank you, Soarin,” she said sincerely. She normally didn’t like showing signs of being slow, weak or inexperienced...but for Soarin...she felt like she could. She felt like she could trust him more than anypony.

“Ey, what are friends for?” Soarin replied with a wink, pulling her closer to him with his wing. “But in all seriousness, I’ve got some stuff to do tonight, so we should head back.”

“Yeah, sure. I should probably be practicing a little bit anyway,” Dash replied, opening up her wings.

As she took flight, Soarin gently took off next to her. Since they were higher than the HQ, they simply glided back down to it with minimal effort.

“Spitfire’s got an annou--” Soarin cut himself off. Dash looked over at him, confused about what he was about to say. “Nothing…” Soarin corrected, looking away. He was going to give Rainbow Dash a heads up about tomorrow, but at the very mention of Spitfire’s name, he was reminded about what thin ice he was on.

“Well, see ya tomorrow, Soar,” Dash called as she made her way back inside.

“Yeah, see ya,” Soarin replied, waving quickly, even though she wasn’t looking. He turned and made his way round the back route, because it was a quicker way for him to get back to where he needed to go.

But then he remembered what happens when he normally does this. He stopped round the corner a few feet from the door. “Okay Blaze, you wanna come offer me ‘advice’ like you usually do?” He spoke out loud.

He suddenly felt a weight land on his back. He braced to take it, but it turned out not to be as heavy as the initial impact implied it to be. “This is WAY more fun than starting an argument between Fire and Lightning Streak.”

“I’m sure,” Soarin replied sarcastically, rolling his eyes and getting ready for Blaze to have the best entertainment of her life at his incompetence.

“Although…” she rolled on top of Soarin so she was resting with her back against his. “Are you sure you want to let her take the lead? If things don’t work out, it means things’ll hurt more. For both of you…” Blaze spoke quite seriously, using her normal habit of being able to switch between crazy and serious in a matter of milliseconds.

“I only did it so I could have more time to think…” Soarin replied.

“Think about what?” Blaze questioned. She had a pretty good idea, but she just wanted to hear Soarin say it.

“Well...I…” Soarin looked down, “just...want to...consider it…” he struggled to get out.

“Awww…” Blaze rolled over and wrapped her forelegs tightly around his neck, almost making Soarin choke. “You actually think you might like her? You’re sho cyoot!” She cooed whilst giving him a noogie.

“Blaze, c-c-can’t b-breathe…” Soarin choked out, kicking up from his back legs and using the inertia to fling Blaze off of him.

Blaze used her wings to spin around in the air and land on her hooves.

“Please don’t say that again…” Soarin asked, feeling himself starting to blush. “Spitfire’s already on my ass about it.”

“Ah, that old chestnut,” Blaze replied, rolling her eyes. “Trust me Soarin, you’ve got nothing to worry about. You’re too much valuable to Spitfire to do anything that might make impact your performance. Although she probably wouldn’t appreciate it very much, so...be prepared to get on her bad side. I feel like I’m on it permanently…”

“But you’re her little sister, isn’t it kinda your job?” Soarin joked.

“Little?” Blaze questioned, standing up as tall as she could and looking Soarin in the eyes.

“Well...yeah,” Soarin did the same, and Blaze’s forehead only just reached Soarin’s nose.

“Alright, you got me…” Blaze relaxed, looking away, muttering a few things under her breath.

Soarin blinked, and temporarily smiled before letting it subside. “But seriously, I’ve known Spitfire since high school. She's one of my best friends. And I want to keep it that way. And I’ve got a feeling that ‘I told you so’s’ won’t go down too well with her.”

Blaze smirked and couldn’t hold back a snort, “You’re taking relationship advice from Spitfire of all ponies?” She asked, laughing a little to herself.

Soarin shrugged, “Well...not necessarily advice, but...warnings…”

“Soarin,” Blaze rolled her eyes as she started her sentence, “you do realise that even you’ve had more experience than Spitfire. Spitfire’s never even had a single coltfriend. She probably doesn’t even know what love is.”

Before Soarin could react, Blaze reached over his shoulders and pulled him to her. “Seriously, you’re better off listening to ‘little’ Blaze here.” She advised with a smug tone, reminding him of the prod he made at her size earlier by squeezing him a little tighter. She felt him squirming a little, but nothing more than she was used to.

“However…” her voice suddenly took a much less upbeat turn to it, “I can only give you so much advice. At the end of the day, it’s entirely up to you. It’s your decision, nopony can make it for you. And as much as I try, I just can’t help you with that. Nopony can. But I can promise you that if you think long and hard about it, you won’t make the wrong one…”

“Mmph, mmphm.”

Blaze looked down at Soarin, who was beginning to turn a darker shade of blue. “Oops, sorry,” She released him and Soarin gasped for breath, “Got a little carried away with my explanation there.”

“Ya think?” Soarin replied mid-gasp. “Do you always have to be this dramatic?”

“Oh come on, life’s too short to be that boring,” She happily replied, playfully swatting him on the shoulder. “Seriously, don’t be so borin’ Soarin.”

Soarin chuffed as he held his hoof to the door to push it open. “I would say I’ll tell you how it goes, but you’ll probably see it before you hear it.”

“Probably, unless you really make ‘em scream,” Blaze replied, bouncing her eyebrows up and down.

Soarin just sighed and shook his head, breaking eye contact at Blaze’s innuendo. He let Blaze giggle her way down the corridor as he deliberately lagged behind to give himself some time to think.

“That’s if she’s even here for much longer after Spitfire shakes things up tomorrow…”

Author's Note:

Whew! I'm finally back on track.

Oh dear, I wonder just what is Thunder Flash's problem? As stubborn as she is, even the toughest nuts crack eventually...

And as predicted, Spitfire had been keeping a close eye on Soarin and Rainbow Dash. Does she approve? Well...yes and no. As the Captain of the Wonderbolts, it's her duty to make sure that all of her officers are in their best form. It's also in the interest of fairness on the competition that there's no obvious signs of them being biased towards a particular Pegasus. It's a professional environment, and she has to keep things strict.

However, her and Soarin are almost lifelong friends. She doesn't want a professional decision screwing up their friendship. A very thin line in a business like this. Looks like Soarin isn't the only one with a lot to think about...

Oh Blaze, always available to lend a helping hoof...even when she just kinda drops in. :rainbowlaugh:

Thanks for reading! :twilightsmile: